Playback ’03] Hanshin Tigers V after 18 years!  Koshien and Dotonbori in the midst of the joyful atmosphere. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Playback ’03] Hanshin Tigers V after 18 years!  Koshien and Dotonbori in the midst of the joyful atmosphere.

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Taken in ’03. A 3-2 sayonara win over Hiroshima. Later, Yakult lost to Hiroshima, so the Hanshin won the championship at the sacred Koshien Stadium.

What did “FRIDAY” report 10, 20, or 30 years ago? In “Playback Friday,” we take a look back at the topics that made headlines back then. This time, we look back 20 years ago at the October 3, 2003 issue of “Hanshin Tigers: ‘I was burned by V. I was drunk! I was drunk! This issue features the Hanshin Tigers’ first victory in 18 years. This issue featured the Hanshin Tigers, who won the championship for the first time in 18 years, and this article was also featured in the color photogravure.

At the time, the magazine introduced the V players who led the team to the championship in the “Kansai dialect” as follows.

Makoto Imaoka. A pop-fly hitting genius, he was the man who made former manager Katsuya Nomura say, “You’re killing me! (former manager Katsuya Nomura) said, “You’re killing me! Norihiro Akahoshi. He was once quoted as saying, “You’re a little leaguer after a big leaguer (Tsuyoshi Shinjo, who was fired from his job),” but he has been the all-time stolen base leader for three consecutive years. Your batting average is also much higher than Shinjo’s. Tomonori Kanemoto. The iron man with the red helmet who kept going to games even when his hand was ripped open and he had to get stitches himself. It was very encouraging to have you with the Tigers. Shinjiro Hiyama. Onihei, the lost general. (The only thing that ever worked for manager Taira Fujita was your selection of him as the No. 4 pitcher. Oh, well, what happened to the drying bat? George Arias. I think Yu’s performance has freed me from the trauma of the “failed trade of the century” with the Orix, Hiromi Matsunaga – Koji Noda. Atsushi Kataoka. Last year he was so depressed that he had a bald spot on his head, but this year I’m glad to see him back to his super bullish comments from his days at NIHAM. Teruhiro Yano. He seems to have recovered from last year’s breakdown, which was too painful for him. Atsushi Fujimoto. I don’t have to explain anymore that he won the MVP in last year’s Freshman All-Star Game. Most of the pitchers are guys who were not here last year, except for Kei Igawa and Trey Moore. And they are all in great form. I thought that Hideki Irabu, the “face of Hanshin” for the first time in a long time, would be good, but Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi is a real prize. Tomoyuki Kubota, you are different from the “Nomo 2nd generation” who have appeared and disappeared so far. Keiichi Yabu suddenly burst into flames, as usual. Above all, it was unthinkable that a fighter who is now flying in the air would come to Hanshin.

The “flying general” was, of course, Senichi Hoshino, then 56 years old. The general’s comment was, “Oh, it was tough,” he said.

Oh, it was tough.

In his second year as manager, Hoshino made a major change of players, which some called a “blood swap,” bringing in Kanemoto, Irabu, Shimoyanagi, and others to help the team reborn after a “dark period” of no wins and 10 last-place finishes since its first championship in 1985. This may have been the result of these changes. Perhaps as a result of these changes, the Hanshin team began to make rapid progress in the early part of the season. However, Hoshino, who had been suffering from a chronic illness for some time, reached the limit of his physical strength, and on July 27, he collapsed on the bench during a game.

He denied that he was taking a leave of absence, saying, “I would do it even if I was dying.” He also kept secret the fact that his mother, Toshiko, who had raised him single-handedly, had died two days earlier.

It was tough,” was probably Hoshino’s heartfelt reaction to winning the championship.

Manager Hoshino embraced Akahoshi after the tying run got a hit in the bottom of the 9th inning.
Hiyama and Kanemoto were also lifted up in the arms of the manager.
Akahoshi made a winning run into the stands. Before the gates opened at 8:00 a.m. that day, 8,300 fans had packed the stands.
Ebisu Bridge in Minami, Osaka, filled with Hanshin fans. As a chorus of “Rokko Oroshi” (Japanese folk song) echoed through the air, fans performed the customary “Dotonbori Dive” one after another.
Fans jumped into a variety of poses, including twisting and rolling backward.
The gallery cheered for the woman who did a series of dives.
  • PHOTO Jun Mayumi, Ryu Kanzaki, Yukiko Fukuyama

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