The following top ten list comes from the results of a poll conducted by the Hanshin Tigers organization at the end of the 2015 season, the club’s 80th of existence. Because the 5,284 fans who voted do not necessarily know the team’s full history or its truly greatest moments, there is some bias towards more recent years. However, if you click on the headlines, you can find an article (and maybe even a video clip) of each of these moments.
Before we reach the top 10, here are some honorable mentions.
This is easily the most exciting game I have experienced as a baseball fan. The Tigers found themselves down 0-9 after the top of the fifth inning against the powerhouse Hiroshima Carp. But a run in the bottom of that inning was followed by seven more the next inning (plus another that got taken away on a controversial video replay that took 20 minutes to decide). The next inning, they got the runs they needed, and after a dominant top of the ninth by our closer, the game – and temporary hold of first place – was ours. Absolutely unforgettable and undeniably a moment that will go down in team history.
All you get to see in the linked video is 17 seconds (the final out of the game), but you can read a bit more about it here, too. Let’s put it this way: in the two-league era (i.e., since 1950), there have been six no-hitters thrown by Hanshin pitchers. Only one was against the much-hated Yomiuri Giants, and this was it. Bacque is the only import so far in team history to throw a no-hitter. This one deserves recognition as one of the great moments in franchise history, for sure.
How can you not appreciate the impressive resume that Takashi Toritani has build up in his first 14 seasons with the club? Not only does he play every game, but he never takes any play lightly, battling through crazy injuries (cracked ribs, a broken nose, more). Would you believe that in reaching the 2000 hit plateau, he became just the second player in franchise history to rack up all of his 2000+ hits with Hanshin? As a matter of fact, he became the first Tiger to get his 2000th hit on Koshien soil, too! Keep the hits coming, sir!
6) Shinjo Gets Walk-Off Hit During Intentional Walk (June 12, 1999)
4) Team Wins First Ever Japan Series (November 1985)
3) Team Wins First Pennant in 18 Years (September 15, 2003)
2) Hiyama Hits Home Run in Last Career At Bat During Climax Series (October 13, 2013)