Nippon Professional Baseball

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The top tier of baseball in Japan, Nippon Pro Baseball has consisted for a long time of 2 leagues, the Central League and Pacific League, which in turn each contain 6 teams. The Central League is comparable to the National League of Japan, as it plays its games with no designated hitter, while the Pacific League is more comparable to the American League, as it uses a DH. Many American fans refer to Nippon Pro Baseball incorrectly as the Japanese League.

At the end of the NPB season, the top teams in each league face off in the Japan Series. Prior to 2005, the only other interleague confrontation came in the form of two All-Star Games played about two-thirds of the way through the season. In 2005, NPB began to incorporate interleague play.

Major differences between NPB and MLB include the much smaller farm system in Japan (only one minor league team per franchise), shorter seasons (usually ranging between 130 and under 150 games), multiple All-Star Games per year and less player mobility. There are far fewer trades in Japan than in the majors and free agency starts later in a player's career.

Prominent Stars (incomplete)[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Warren Cromartie and Robert Whiting: Slugging it Out in Japan: an American major leaguer in the Tokyo outfield, Kodansha International, New York, NY, 1991.
  • Robert K. Fitts: Remembering Japanese Baseball, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, IL, 2005
  • Robert K. Fitts: "The Evolution of Japanese Baseball Strategy", in The Baseball Research Journal, Number 36 (2007), SABR, Cleveland, OH, pp. 61-67.
  • Robert K. Fitts: Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, & Assassination During the 1934 Tour of Japan, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2012. ISBN 978-0803229846
  • John Gall and Gary Engel: Sayonara Home Run! The Art of the Japanese Baseball Card, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA, 2006.
  • Daniel E. Johnson: Japanese Baseball: A Statistical Handbook, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2006 (originally published in 1999).
  • Robert Whiting: The Chrysanthemum and the Bat: The Game Japanese Play, Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, NY, 1977.
  • Robert Whiting: You Gotta Have Wa, Macmillan, New York, NY, 1989
  • Robert Whiting: The Meaning of Ichiro, Warner Books, New York, NY, 2004
  • Robert Whiting: The Samurai Way of Baseball: The Impact Of Ichiro And The New Wave From Japan, Warner Books, New York, NY, 2005.

See also[edit]