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Single Season Record for Wins

Discussion in the Records and Milestones forum
Single Season Record for Wins
What is the single season record for wins (for a whole team) in Japan? Who has the record and do you think Hanshin has a chance to beat that record this year?

Thank you.
Comments
Re: Single Season Record for Wins
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jul 22, 2003 10:26 PM | YBS Fan ]

A good pair of questions with the way Hanshin is going. Nikkan Sports projected them to 100 wins a few days ago, and they're still going strong.

Nonetheless, to get to your questions:

- What is the single season record for wins (for a whole team) in Japan?

That one is held by the 1955 Nankai Hawks (now Fukuoka Daiei Hawks). They went 99 and 41 with 3 ties (tie games were replayed then) for a .707 winning percentage. This broke the Shochiku Robins' (merged with the team that eventually became the Yokohama BayStars) 1950 record of 98 wins, 35 losses, 4 ties (.737 winning percentage).

For a good comparison of dominating teams, please check out Albright-san's Most Dominating/Dominated Single Season Teams in Japanese Baseball article. The Robins were ranked second most dominating while the Hawks were ranked eighth. Winning the most games isn't everything.

- [D]o you think Hanshin has a chance to beat that record this year?

I don't like making predictions. But as I said, Nikkan Sports has projected them to 100 wins at their current pace. And I haven't seen any sign of them slowing down, yet.

The question to me is, will Yokohama lose 100 games? Nikkan Sports projected them to 103 losses just before the All Star break. The current record is held by the 1961 Kintetsu Buffaloe who lost 102.

Trivia question: Two pitchers have won 41 games in a single season. Who were they?
Re: Single Season Record for Wins
[ Author: PLNara | Posted: Jul 24, 2003 10:29 PM | HT Fan ]

- Trivia question: Two pitchers have won 41 games in a single season. Who were they?

Was one of them named Inao or something like that? I remember reading about him having a great season for an old version of the Swallows somewhere.
Trivia Answer
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jul 24, 2003 11:58 PM | YBS Fan ]

First, I have a correction to make, the two players won 42 games, not 41. Sorry if that threw anyone's Google searches off.

The first 42 game winner was Victor Starffin in 1939. He compiled a 42 and 15 record in 68 games.

The second 42 game winner was, you guessed correctly, Inao Kazuhisa of the Nishitetsu Lions (eventually became the Seibu Lions - I think you were thinking of the Kokutetsu Swallows, another train line) in 1961. Inao had a 42 and 14 record in 78 appearances that year.

Players have won 30 or more games in a single season 30 times, but the last time was in 1968. Inao had 30 or more home runs four times in all, 1957-59 and 1961 (35, 33, 30, and 42 wins respectively.) They don't make 'em like him any more. Is this one of those perverbial "unbreakable" records?

Looking through my Record Book, I see that Inao-san has a lot of records to his name:

    #7 in career appearances with 756 (304 starts 452 in relief) from 1956 to 1969
    #1 (shared) in single season appearances with 78 in 1961 (30 starts, 48 relief)
    #18 in career complete games with 179 (out of 304 starts)
    #14 (shared) in career shutouts with 43
    #12 in most complete games without giving up a walk with 34
    #8 in most career wins with 276 (vs. 137 losses)
    #1 (shared) in single season wins with 42
    #1 in most consecutive wins with 20 (July 18 to October 1, 1957)
    [Avoids the top 30 list of most losses - significant considering how many games he played in.]
    #2 in best winning percentage (with at least 2,000 innings pitched) at .668 (276 wins, 137 losses)
    #19 in best single season winning percentage with a .854 winnning percentage in 1957 (35 and 6 in 68 games)
    #10 in most career innings pitched with 3599 in 756 games
    #18 and #19 in most innings pitched in a season with 404 in 1961 and 402 1/3rd in 1959

And I'm sure I can find his name a few more times, but it's time for bed - and this thread has gotten a bit off topic. Nonetheless, it strikes me that Inao-san might make a very interesting research topic for someone with some time on their hands. I'd much rather read about him than a comparison of NPB and MLB, which is what most Japanese baseball research topics seem to be about.

Inao
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Jul 25, 2003 5:09 AM ]

Many say he is the best pitcher in NPB history.
Re: Inao
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Jul 25, 2003 11:07 AM ]

seiyu wrote:

- Many say he is the best pitcher in NPB history.

I wouldn't go quite that far. Kaneda had 124 more wins for poorer teams and pitched about half again as many innings. I'm going to revise the pitcher ratings in my greatest players rankings to include a category which evaluates a player against his team. There are so many win-related aspects of a pitcher's ranking that those guys who pitched for bad teams like Kaneda and Hasegawa are underrated by the system. Even with this adjustment, I am sure Inao will stay in second place, as he is well ahead of everybody but Kaneda.

Jim Albright
Re: Inao
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Aug 1, 2003 2:19 AM ]

In terms of the record wins and longevity, yes, but still many Japanese think Inao is the best of all. Just ask the NPB fans who grew up in the 1950s and the '60s. Some people think pitchers like Kaneda and Yoneda (350 wins) are compilers. Inao gave a stronger impression to many Japanese during a relatively short period of time. Its like comparing Cy Young to Sandy Koufax or Walter Johnson to Bob Gibson. Kaneda is more like Walter Johnson who pitched for a terrible team and piled up win after win. Inao is more like Koufax or Gibson. Also, without Inao, I doubt that the Nishitetsu Lions could have beaten the Giants 3 in a row between 1956-1959 or even won so many pennants.

My top ten pitchers (based not only on records but intangibles):
  1. Inao Kazuhisa
  2. Kaneda Masaichi
  3. Sawamura Eiji
  4. Jiro Noguchi
  5. Enatsu Yutaka
  6. Victor Starffin
  7. Bessho Takehiko
  8. Higashio Osamu
  9. Yamada Hisashi
  10. Sugiura Tadashi
Re: Inao
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Aug 1, 2003 10:58 AM ]

- My top ten pitchers (based not only on records but intangibles): [snip]

We agree on most of the selections, though not precisely on placement:
  1. Kaneda
  2. Inao
  3. K. Suzuki
  4. Starffin
  5. Yamada
  6. Bessho
  7. Enatsu
  8. Koyama
  9. Murayama
  10. Saito

When I redo the rankings, this may change a little, especially if I find errors (as I have with a few hitters).

I wouldn't agree with Sugiura, but he's hardly a bad choice, and Noguchi just misses my list. Higashio at 251-247 and only 22 games above his team is one I'd take serious exception to.

Sawamura is a legend, and was a great pitcher. However, it was for a short time (1934-1937 or so), after which it appears his arm was shot. I could see him among the top 10 if you're looking at peak performance, not career, though that would have to take into account 1934 and 1935, which predates NPB. My selections are limited to NPB and focus more on career than that, and on that basis, I couldn't go with Sawamura.

The biggest omission from your list in my mind is Keishi Suzuki. I'd take him over Higashio without a doubt. The other disagreements are minor, really, particularly if you're not as focused on career level marks as I am.

Re: Inao
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Aug 1, 2003 10:13 PM ]

Jim,

Good list. I also had Suzuki, Koyama, and Yoneda in mind but decided to drop them, albeit their win totals of over 300. Those guys never had a shining moment. They are the Gaylord Perry of the NPB. Your choice of Murayama is a good one though. I totally forgot about him.

Isn't it interesting that there are three Tigers on the list? They were well known for their great pitching and weak batting during the 1960s and '70s. No run support. Enatsu once said that if he were pitching for the Giants, he would win all the games, which I believe is a valid point.

Higashio was my last moment choice. I put him in because of what he did during the mid '80s for the Seibu Lions.

As for Sawamura, I put him in because he would have been the same kind of pitcher as Starffin. His career was unfortunately disrupted by the arm injury he got during the Sino-Japanese War. He came back and won a couple of games pitching side-armed. Later, as you know, he was killed in the Philippines. It might have been different if he took the offer to pitch for the Chicago Cubs.
Re: Inao
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Aug 2, 2003 11:03 AM ]

My issue with Sawamura on the basis you're advocating is that when you get into what might have been, it's true of so many guys, especially if you look at injuries to pitchers. Wartime service may be a bit of a different issue, but it's so hard to get a handle on what actually did happen that extending it that much makes the topic far too broad for almost anyone to handle.

Sawamura at his peak, though, would have been something to behold. Given the state of Japanese-American relations in the period after 1934, it's hard to see Sawamura being in a good situation there, either. The world political situation was just not favorable for ballplayers of that time.

Jim Albright
Re: Inao
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Aug 2, 2003 11:30 AM ]

The evidence is strong that, in that era, the Tigers were playing in a stadium which rivalled Dodger Stadium of MLB in the early 1960's as a pitcher's paradise. Just like those Dodgers, though, the Tigers of that time had very good pitching.

Jim Albright
Re: Inao
[ Author: 1908 | Posted: Aug 2, 2003 10:59 PM | HT Fan ]

- It might have been different if [Sawamura] took the offer to pitch for the Chicago Cubs.

Either I don't remember this story or I've never heard it. Can you flush out the details a bit for me, Seiyu-san? Cubs fans can always use another regret.
Re: Inao
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Aug 4, 2003 10:56 PM ]

I remember reading this in Robert Whiting's book.
Sawamura to MLB...
[ Author: PLNara | Posted: Aug 5, 2003 5:16 PM | HT Fan ]

I recall the story being that Sawamura was touring America playing minor league teams or something, and an unscrupulous scout asked him for his autograph at a game. It turned out that the paper he wanted signed was a major-league contract, and Sawamura refused. I think the team might have been the Pirates, but I'm not sure.

Like Seiyu-san said, it was in "You Gotta have Wa."
Re: Inao
[ Author: Guest: Gary Garland | Posted: Aug 5, 2003 9:12 PM ]

My understading was that it was the Cardinals who had tried to sign Sawamura. For what it's worth.
Re: Inao
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Sep 17, 2003 12:09 AM ]

- In terms of the record wins and longevity, yes, but still many Japanese think Inao is the best of all. Just ask the NPB fans who grew up in the 1950s and the '60s. Some people think pitchers like Kaneda and Yoneda (350 wins) are compilers. Inao gave a stronger impression to many Japanese during a relatively short period of time. Its like comparing Cy Young to Sandy Koufax or Walter Johnson to Bob Gibson. Kaneda is more like Walter Johnson who pitched for a terrible team and piled up win after win. Inao is more like Koufax or Gibson.

My revised evaluation (it's going to be of all players, not just pitchers) indicates you hit the nail on the head here. Kaneda had the greatest overall career, but Inao's peak performance was better. I've combined the two approaches in a way I find reasonable -- but I'm not going to tell you who came out on top, especially since I still have a lot of work to do. When the article is posted, I'll let you know and you can all find out then.

Jim Albright
Re: Inao
[ Author: Guest: Koya Suto | Posted: Aug 30, 2003 10:55 PM ]

I would not dispute Inao is the best pitcher in Japanese baseball. I recall people yelled like prayer: "Kami-sama, Hotoke-sama, Inao-sama," literally meaning "God, Budha, Inao,"
Re: Trivia Answer
[ Author: PLNara | Posted: Jul 25, 2003 8:43 AM | HT Fan ]

- Nishitetsu Lions (eventually became the Seibu Lions - I think you were thinking of the Kokutetsu Swallows, another train line)

You're right. I had Kokutetsu and Nishitetsu confused.
Railway Teams
[ Author: weirdgaijin | Posted: Jul 31, 2003 9:52 PM ]

-- Nishitetsu Lions (eventually became the Seibu Lions - I think you were thinking of the Kokutetsu Swallows, another train line)

- You're right. I had Kokutetsu and Nishitetsu confused.


Wow. How many baseball teams were owned by railroad companies? Now there is Hanshin, Kintentsu, Seibu (I'm thinking of Seibu Railway in Tokyo so I'm not sure), Orix BlueWave was Hankyu Braves in its former life.
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