Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Orix Blue Wave
The Orix BlueWave (オリックスブルーウェーブ) was a baseball team in Kōbe, Japan, that played in the Pacific League. The team was owned by the Orix Group , a leading diversified financial services company based in Tokyo. Kobe is the hometown of the owner of the group and club, and it was a reason that Orix Blue Wave franchized in Kobe. Another reason was its former form, Hankyu Braves (阪急ブレーブス) had franchized in Nishinomiya, a neibhbor town of Kobe in Prefecture Hyogo .
Orix BlueWave was founded in 1936 as Ōsaka Hankyu Baseball Club (大阪阪急野球協会) under the ownership of a Japanese railway company Hankyu Dentetsu (Hankyu Electric Railway), which was one of the oldest Japanese professional baseball team. Later the team was nicknamed Hankyu Braves.
Hankyu Braves was known as one of the strongest teams not only in the Pacific League but also in the entire professional baseball league in Japan. In 1970s Hankyu Braves won won the Pafific League three times continously but lost the Japan Series against Tokyo Giants. In 1980s the team was still known as strong but lose the penant before Seibu Lions. The manager Ueda Toshiharu was known as "the good manager in tragedy" because of those losts. In Kansai region there were two popular teams in those days and Hankyu Braves was known as a good team but less popular.
In October 11,1988, the last day of game schedule of this year, Hankyu Dentetsu sold the ownership to a lease company Orient Lease (since 1989 Orix Group) with two assurances to keep the team name Braves and its franchaise in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. Hankyu Dententsu faced financial difficulties and needed to reconstruct its structure. Most of professional baseball teams in Japan has been a financial burden to its owner and the Hankyu Dentetsu CEO decided to sell the team. That was a surprise to everyone, because in Japan it was rarer both changing ownership of professional baseball team and selling a company or its branch in those days than today and Hankyu Dentetsu was thought one of big companies which has no necessity to do such a thing.
During first two years under a new ownership the team were the Orix Braves, in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo. Since 1991 the team however has been Orix BlueWave in Kōbe. Old fans were shocked by these changes but, fortunately, Nishinomiya and Kōbe are not so far from each other. And the new home ground of the team are better than the former, most of fans are content to moving but there are some who have nostalgia for the name of Braves. Today the team is sometimes called Aonami (青波) by fans and baseball mass media, which means "Blue Wave" in Japanese.
Famous players who have played for Orix BlueWave include Ichiro Suzuki and Shigetoshi Hasegawa (both of whom now play for the Seattle Mariners of the American League), as well as Fukumoto Yutaka , and So Taguchi .
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