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Origins of Team Names

Discussion in the Pro Yakyu History forum
Origins of Team Names
This thread saw the offshoot of an off-topic thread, the origin of team names. I think that this is a more appropriate location for researchers and those interested in Pro Yakyu history alike.
Origin of Giants
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Sep 9, 2003 7:55 PM | YBS Fan ]

Taken from "You Gotta Have Wa" by Robert Whiting, Chapter 2:

Shoriki [owner of Yomiuri Shimbun] was unfazed [by the stabbing by a rightist for his sponsoring the MLB All Star Tour in 1934]. Encouraged by the response of the fans to Ruth, he established Japan's first professional baseball team, the Dai Nippon Tokyo Yakyu Kurabu (the Great Japan Tokyo Baseball Club), in December 1934, quickly signing up Sawamura and other top Japanese stars.

Dai Nippon toured the U.S. in 1935, playing 102 various PCL and semipro teams and winning 93 games. Wearing uniforms with numbers written in Chinese characters, they confused Americans trying to keep score. Their lengthy name was also so difficult for their hosts to master that Shoriki changed it to the Tokyo Giants, after the National League team from New York.

Six other teams joined the Tokyo Kyojin (Japanese for Giants) and formed Japan's first professional baseball league in 1936. The other six teams were the Hanshin Tigers, Nagoya, Dai-Tokyo, Nagoya Kinsachihiko (Goldfish?), Tokyo Senators, and Hankyu. (As you can see, not all teams had mascots their first year.)

Yomiuri changed the name of the team to Yomiuri Giants in 1947, and that has been their name ever since. While their uniforms have had the word "Tokyo" on them often since 1947, it has not been part of their official name. Furthermore, newspapers still print the Giants' name as "Kyojin" in the standings. I think that this is because none of the other newspapers want to print "Yomiuri," their main competition - but that doesn't explain why Yomiuri does this in their own papers, too.

"You Gotta Have Wa," Robert Whiting, ISBN 0-679-72947-X
"2003 Baseball Record Book," Baseball Magazine Sha, ISBN 4-583-03724-4

Re: Origin of Giants (and Tigers)
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Sep 10, 2003 1:15 AM ]

Lefty O'Doul of the New York Giants, who was very close Shioriki Matsutaro, suggested the name since Giants represented New York, which was similar to Tokyo. Then Tigers were named since Osaka was similar to Detroit which was an industrial city.

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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