Nippon Professional Baseball roster rules
Roster rules of Nippon Professional Baseball
Foreign players limits
The number of foreign players on Nippon Professional Baseball teams has varied through the years. For many years, there was a limit of two per team.
There was no limit prior to 1951, when the limit became three on the active roster. In 1954, it became three in the entire organization and was restricted further 8 years later to 3 including the coaches and manager. In 1965, the limit was shrunk to two. Then in 1980, it became three in the organization, two on the active roster. 13 years later, all three could be on the active roster, but only two could be position players. After two more years, there was no organizational limit, allowing teams to stock up on foreigners in the minors. In 1997, a 4th player was permitted on the active roster with two pitchers and two position players. Then, in 2001, the limit was kept at four, but three could be position players or pitchers.
Teams often circumvent the rules with foreign pitchers by shuffling two back and forth on the active roster, leading to instances such as Rick Guttormson being deactivated after throwing a no-hitter to make room for Dicky Gonzalez.