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in 1938, the Hawks played poorly during the early years, but when Kazuto
Tsuruoka took over as skipper, he led the team to either a first or second-place
finish every year from 1950-66. During the last half of Tsuruoka's tenure,
catcher Katsuya Nomura became the team leader, eventually belting 657 home runs.
managed the Hawks during the 1970s, but after he was fired, the team posted 16
straight losing seasons even while slugger Hiromitsu Kadota compiled 567 career
In 1988, the
Daiei supermarket chain bought the Hawks and moved them to
's southern island. When the Fukuoka Dome opened in 1993, the Hawks moved
into their new home.
relatively new ballpark modeled after
's SkyDome, the Hawks have a loyal following and have occasionally rivaled the
Giants for the attendance lead.
Fukuoka Dome offers
's only removable lid, the playing field and high walls around the field move
fans far away from the action.
if the sight-lines are miserable, the ballpark offers several bars and
restaurants with a birds-eye view of the field. The team's mascot, Harry
the Hawk, loiters around foul territory at home games.
s all-time home run king Sadaharu Oh since 1995, the Daiei Hawks won the
Pacific League pennant in 1999, 2000 and 2003 with a potent batting attack led
by first baseman Nobuhiko Matsunaka (Triple Crown batting winner in 2004) and
catcher Kenji Jojima.
woes suffered by the parent company caused Daiei to sell the team to SoftBank,
an Internet company, and in 2005 the club became known as the Fukuoka
Acknowledgment: Dan Latham and Wayne Graczyk