After Nagayoshi Nakamura bought the Nishitetsu Lions in 1973, his Lodi Orions team in the California League was re-named the Lodi Lions. The Lodi, CA-based team was a Baltimore Orioles affiliate boosted by Nishitetsu farmhands. The combination proved effective as the team won the first-half at 46-24. While they slipped to 7th in the second half (31-39), they tied for the best overall record (77-63) and beat the second-half champions, the Bakersfield Dodgers, 2 games to 0, in the playoffs for the league pennant. Managed by Jimmie Schaffer, Lodi outscored opponents 632-609 and they drew 43,053 fans, 6th in the 8-team league. Schaffer was named to the All-Star team at manager while the only position player to make it was 1B Mike Satterlee (.300/~.467/.546, 7th in average, 4th with 19 homers, second with 105 walks, probably 1st in both OBP and slugging). The pitching staff saw a wide range in talent, with All-Star Larry McCall (14-7, 2.48) second in the league in ERA and wins (ahead of Dennis Eckersley, among others, by a fair margin in both) and tied for the lead with 16 complete games. Following him were players as wildly different as Victor Agosto (14-8, 3.09, 7th in ERA), S. Doug Patterson (9-15, 4.22, tied for second in losses) and Tim Hoyles (3-10, 7.15). The top Japanese contributors to the team were Akira Kawahara (4-4, 3.08) and OF Fumio Takahashi (.289/~.385/.356, 22 SB, 9th in the league in average and third among outfielders with 14 assists). Nakamura sold the team after the season and they became the Lodi Orioles in 1974.
Source: 1974 Baseball Guide
|1973||77-63||1st (t)||Jimmie Schaffer||League Champs|