As pretty much expected, the Hanshin Tigers and Orix Buffaloes won their respective playoff series this week, setting the stage for the first all-Kansai Nippon Series since 1964. If you've ever wondered which team is more popular in the region, consider that there was an increased police presence in the Dotonbori area of Osaka on Friday night after the Tigers won their series but not Saturday night after the Buffaloes won theirs.
One interesting piece of trivia about this matchup - Tigers manager Akinobu Okada will be only the third NPB manager ever to manage in the Series against a team he had previously managed. (H/T NPB Reddit)
The first manager to do this was Osamu Mihara. Mihara had managed the Yomiuri Giants from 1947 until mid-way through the 1949 season (I believe he was the last manager that the Giants ever fired mid-season). He took over the Nishitetsu Lions in 1951. He ultimately led the Lions to three consecutive championships over his former team from 1956 to 1958.
|2000 BBM Giants #G91
|1958 Maruo JCM 67
It would be 42 years before it happened again. In 2000, Sadaharu Oh led the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks to the Series against the Giants, the team he had managed from 1984 to 1988. Oh's Hawks fell to the Giants in six games.
|1987 Play Ball #2
|2002 BBM Giants #G114
Finally Okada managed the Orix Buffaloes from 2010 to 2012. We'll know in two weeks if he emulated Mihara (victorious against his former team) or Oh (defeated by his former team).
|2011 BBM Pedigree #01
|2023 Epoch NPB #289
One other managerial note - Hawks manager Hiroshi Fujimoto stepped down after Monday's stunning loss against the Marines in the first round of the playoffs. His replacement is former Hawks and Giants slugger Hiroki Kokubo. Kokubo's only previous managerial experience was in leading the Samurai Japan team from 2013 to 2017, leading them to third place finishes in both the 2015 Premier 12 and the 2017 WBC.
|2016 Calbee Samurai Japan #SJ-01