| Chunichi Dragons|
|Major league affiliations|
|Retired Numbers||10, 15|
|Japan Series titles (2)||1954, 2007|
|CL Pennants (7)||1954, 1974, 1982, 1988, 1999, 2004, 2006|
|Owner(s): Chunichi Shimbun Co.|
|Manager: Hiromitsu Ochiai|
The Chunichi Dragons (中日ドラゴンズ Chūnichi Doragonzu?) are a professional baseball team based in Nagoya, the chief city in the Chubu ("Middle of Japan") region of Japan. The team is in the Central League. They won the 2007 Japan Series and Konami Cup Asia Series 2007.
The Chunichi Dragons were formed in 1936 as the Nagoya Club. They had experimented with 5 different names between 1936 and 1953 before settling with "Dragons" in 1954. 1954 was the same year that the Dragons won their first Japan Series championship. The Dragons had won the Central League pennant seven times until 2006, but until 2007 their last Japan Series victory was in 1954, the longest such drought in NPB. In 1974, the team won the league title for the first time in 20 years, and this victory stopped the Yomiuri Giants from winning the league for their tenth consecutive year. Another league title came in 1999, and in that year, Dragons set a record by winning 11 consecutive games at the opening of the season. In the 2004 season they reached the Japan Series, but lost to the Seibu Lions, the Pacific League Champions. Although they have had little success in the playoffs, they are still known as one of the most powerful teams in Nippon Professional Baseball.
2007 Japan Series TitleEdit
In early 2007, the playoff rules were changed: The top team in the league would advance automatically, while the 2nd and 3rd teams in the league would play a best-of-three series. The winner would face the 1st place team in a best-of-five series to see who would advance to the Japan Series finals. The Dragons took advantage of the new playoff system, and after finishing second in the season standings, swept the Hanshin Tigers in a best of 3 series, then, in a huge upset, swept the heavily favored Yomiuri Giants in a best of 5 series to advance to the Japan Series against the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. In an exact reversal of the 2006 Japan Series, Hokkaido won game 1 of the series, but the Dragons won the next four straight games, including a combined perfect game from Daisuke Yamai to star closer Hitoki Iwase in the deciding Game 5, to become the 2007 Japan Series Champions.
Baseball Hall of Famers (incomplete list)Edit
The following Hall of Famers played and/or managed for the Dragons, and are listed with the years they were with the club.
- Template:Player (1947)
- Template:Player (1947-1950, 1954-1958, 1963-1968)
- Template:Player (1949-1958)
- Template:Player (1960-1986, 1992-1995)
- Template:Player (1961-1962, 1963-1966, 1970-1977)
- Template:Player (1978-1980)
- Template:Player (1984-1986)
- Template:Player (1999-2003)
- Template:Player (1998-1999)
Template:Trivia The Dragons were featured in the 1992 movie Mr. Baseball starring Tom Selleck. Their logo at the time, which they used for many years, was "Dragons" written in script which resembled the logo of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The oldest pitcher in NPB to throw a no-hitter is Dragons veteran Masahiro Yamamoto. He performed the feat on September 16, 2006, at 41 years of age. Nearly two years later, Yamamoto also became the oldest pitcher in NPB to throw a complete game on August 4th, 2008, one week short of his 43rd birthday, for his 200th career win.
Daisuke Yamai (8 innings) and Hitoki Iwase (1 inning) combined for the first perfect game in Japan Series history on November 1, 2007. The 1-0 victory came in Game 5, which clinched the series for the Dragons. Though NPB does not officially recognize the perfect game (as NPB only recognizes no-hitters and perfect games by a single pitcher), the perfect game is commonly referred to as the "Perfect Relay".
The team is referenced in an episode of Heroes, where Hiro Nakamura tries to convince that he is from the future by correctly predicting a game in which "the Swallows will slay the Dragons".
The team is again reference in Haruki Murakami's novel Kafka on the Shore by the character Hoshino, who wears a Chunichi Dragons cap throughout the course of the narrative.
In Grand Prix 13 of the tokusatsu Super Sentai series "Engine Sentai Go-onger" (2008), the evil water-polluting monster Hikigane Banki shouts out just before he explodes at the end of the episode that his only regret is not seeing the Chunichi Dragons' winning streak one last time.