Old Buffaloes club closes

The association of former Kintetsu Buffaloes players will cease activities, the organization’s president, Hall of Fame pitcher Keishi Suzuki announced Saturday.

“It’s sad, but we decided to bring it to a close,” Suzuki said. “There’s no one who can become a new member.”

“The team no longer exists. We persisted thinking we could accomplish something, but we’ve reached our limit.”

The Buffaloes, founded ahead of the 1950 season when Japan’s league expanded and split into the Central and Pacific leagues. The club ceased to exist after the 2004 season when it was merged into the PL rival Orix BlueWave. That merger, announced and essentially approved without the consent of the players sparked NPB’s only players strike, expansion, and wide-ranging changes to the business of baseball in Japan.

The only former Buffaloes players still active are Hisashi Iwakuma, who is joining the Yomiuri Giants from the Seattle Mariners this season, and two players now with the CL’s Yakult Swallows, pitcher Kazuki Kondo and outfielder-first baseman Tomotaka Sakaguchi.

At the time the Buffaloes folded, they were the only one of NPB teams at the time never to have won the Japan Series.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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