The 2020 NPB season ended last Wednesday with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks sweeping the Yomiuri Giants in four games for the second straight year. This was the Hawks fourth straight championship, their sixth in the last seven years and their seventh in the last ten years. It was one of the most lopsided Series in history, with the Hawks outscoring the Giants 26 to 4 and holding Yomiuri to a record lowest batting average of .132. The Hawks also came within one out of no-hitting the Giants in Game Three on Tuesday.
What I am personally most happy about is that this means now that it will be at least nine years between Giants championships. They last won the Nippon Series in 2012 and the earliest now they can win another one is 2021. Believe it or not this is the longest they've ever gone between championships. The previous longest drought was eight (obviously) which has happened twice - 1973 to 1981 and 1981 to 1989. I think it's always good to know when we're living in historic times.
I'm continuing my tradition of celebrating the award winners of the Series. BBM published a box set that featured all the players in each year's Nippon Series from 1991 to 2012 and each box set would include extra cards for all the award winners.
|Series MVP Kyoya Kurihara (2015 BBM 1st Version #024)|
|"Fighting Spirit" Shosei Togoh (2020 Calbee #184)|
|"Outstanding Player" Matt Moore (2020 BBM 1st Version #033)|
|"Outstanding Player" Akira Nakamura (2018 Epoch NPB #25)|
|"Outstanding Player" Yuki Yanagita (2017 BBM 2nd Version #408 "secret" version)|
If you feel like you've seen Yanagita and Nakamura in one of these posts before, it's because you have. This was the second time Nakamura won an "Outstanding Player" award (2018 was the other time) and the fourth time Yanagita did (2014, 2017 and 2018 were the other times).
Additionally, the Korean Series ended a day earlier with the NC Dinos defeating the Doosan Bears in six games to win their first ever championship. Yang Eui-ji was named Series MVP. He's the first player to ever win the Series MVP for two different teams. He also won the award in 2016 when he ironically was a member of the Doosan Bears. Here's his 2019 SCC KBO Collection 1 card (#SCCR1-19/191):