Get to Know: Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

Thanks for stopping by for our “Beginners Guide to the NPB”. So far we’ve featured 2 of the 12 NPB and you can catch up with via the below team links to read up on them:

Nippon Fighters 
Hiroshima Carp

The third team we are featuring as we discover the NPB a little better is the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Perth Heat fans will remember Taishi Nakagawa who played a few seasons back and is a current member of the Golden Eagles.  Travis Blackley also played there in 2014 before heading back to the states.

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The Team is based in Sendai, which is the 2nd largest city North of Tokyo and tipped to be a great place to hit the shops if you’re up there for a game.

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Quick History 

The team itself is pretty new, they’ve only be around since 2005 and are part of the Pacific League. The team is owned by the Corporation Rakuten, which is a major e-commerce / internet company. They are the people who run the Rakuten Global Market, a major online store.

Team Success

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In their short history, the team has managed to win one Japan Series in 2013. It’s also the only time the team has won the Pacific League. On that day a familiar name now to MLB Fans (Especially Yankess Fans) Masahiro Tanaka was the closing pitcher.  Watch below as Tanaka gets a massive ovation being announced to pitch and then watch him close out victory for the Eagles.

Franchise Face

Of course we are going to have to go with Masahiro Tanaka. Originally drafted in 2006 as a first rounder (out of High School) by the Eagles, Tanaka made his professional NPB debut in 2007. In his Rookie season he became the 2nd Pitcher to throw a complete game Shut-Out, the only other one is Yu Darvish, now of the Texas Rangers. After his and the Eagles success in 2013, Tanaka made the move to MLB.

In his Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles career Tanaka finished with a record of 99 wins and 35 losses and a career ERA of 2.30.

Tanaka signed a 7 year $155 Million (USD) deal with the Yankees in 2014. Check out his last season highlights in Pinstripes:

Team Kit

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Team Cap                                        Home Jersey                                    Away Jersey

 

Home Stadium 

Miyagi Baseball Stadium 宮城球場 is located in Sendai, Japan. Despite the team being so new, the stadium actually opened in 1950. The stadium used to be home to the Lotte Orions before they left town and merged (more of that in another edition). 

The unique thing about this stadium and you would have seen it if you watch the Tanaka video is the bullpens are actually under the stands, so the crowd can’t see who’s warming up or if there is any action in the pen.

The Stadium seats just over 23,000 fans and dimensions are: 328 Ft to Left Field, 400ft to Centre Field, 328 Ft to Right Field and 380 FT in the Power Alleys.

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Schedule

They haven’t posted their schedule yet – but keep this website in your favourites: https://www.rakuteneagles.jp/en/ 

 

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tomorrow we will bring you part 4 of the 12 part series and it’s the Tokyo Yakult Swallows turn! Make sure you like us on  FaceBook and if you like it, share it. Also you can always hit me up on twitter @PaulMorgs or via @tbaustralia.

See you tomorrow!