Monday, October 28, 2013

End Of An Era

2008 BBM Hawks 70th Anniversary #04

I'm a couple weeks late on this but October 15th was the 25th Anniversary of the final game ever of the Nankai Hawks.  After 50 years of being owned by Nankai, the Hawks had been sold to Daiei and were moving from Osaka to Fukuoka.

I've been doing a lot of snooping around on YouTube lately, doing searches based on Kanji text and finding a lot of interesting clips.  One of the items I came across was a video of the closing ceremonies at Osaka Stadium that day.

It was a very moving ceremony.  After the team walked the team flag around the outfield, they all stood in a line from first to third across the infield.  One by one, each player and coach was announced - when each person was announced, they would step forward, bow in each direction to the fans and then walk off the field.  The roster was arranged in the typical Japanese style - coaches by number followed by pitchers by number, catchers by number, infielders by number and outfielders by number.  This meant that the Hawks biggest star at the time, Hiromitsu Kadota, an outfielder wearing uniform number 60, would be the last player on the field.  Once Kadota left, the only person left on the field was manager Tadashi Sugiura, who had been a star pitcher for the Hawks in the late '50's and early '60's.

1998 BBM Hawks #FD4

I attended the Baltimore Orioles final game at Memorial Stadium in 1991 and you would not have found a dry eye in the place - and the Orioles were only moving downtown.  As you would expect, the fans and some of the players were openly crying at this game, especially Kadota.  He actually refused to go to Fukuoka with the team and remained in Osaka for the next two years with the Orix Braves.

1987 Calbee #104

I had picked up a mook on the Nankai Hawks last March at Shosen Grande.  The first picture you see when you open it up is Kadota walking off the field that night:

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