Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
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for years shared the Tokyo Dome with the more popular Yomiuri Giants, Nippon Ham
games were seldom crowded and the team has often looked for ways to boost
attendance. Once a year, the Fighters give away free tickets for
"Diamondbacks Day" to the foreign community in
Tokyo, because of their partnership with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
the 2004 season, the team has called the Sapporo Dome, on the island of
Hokkaido in northern
, its home field, though the Fighters continue to play a number of games in
the Tokyo Dome.
the 1980's the Fighters wore bright orange-and-yellow uniforms in an attempt to
attract fans. The team eventually opted for blue pinstripes but kept their
fluorescent pink mascot, Fighty, who resembles a fuzzy pterodactyl and rides a
most major league teams offer a seventh inning stretch, the Fighters play the
Village People classic "YMCA" over the sound system as cheerleaders
and groundskeepers dance on the field during the fifth inning infield sweep.
opened the 2004 season sporting new uniforms, logo and look in the their new
Fighters had good reason for trying to hard to attract fans. There were
five other teams in the Tokyo-area also competing for fans, and the Fighters
have never been as popular as the Yomiuri Giants, with whom they shared Tokyo
the Fighters, who have earned only one pennant in the last 24 years,
usually start the season strong, they tend to stumble as the pennant race heats
2004, the transplanted Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters finished in third place and
made the Pacific League playoffs but lost in the first round to the eventual
champion Seibu Lions.
Owned by Nippon Ham, a meat packing company, the Fighters were originally known
as the Senators (1946) and Flyers (1947-73).
bottom-feeding team for most of the last five decades, the Fighters have
produced few high quality domestic stars. One exception, seven-time
batting champion Isao Harimoto, played the first 17 years of his career
(1959-75) with the team and collected a record 3,085 hits while compiling a
lifetime .319 batting average with 504 home runs. For the last two
decades, however, the Fighters have had to heavily rely on imported sluggers.
Acknowledgment: Dan Latham and Wayne Graczyk