The ORIX Blue Wave were a professional baseball team and belonged to Pacific League of Japanese professional baseball. In 1988 Orient Leasing Co.,Ltd purchased the Hankyu Braves from Hankyu Corporation a railway company. With this purchase, the team’s name was changed to the ORIX Braves and then in 1991 to the ORIX Blue Wave.
In the draft of 1991, So Taguchi (later a major leaguer), and Ichiro Suzuki (later called Ichiro) joined the team drafted first and fourth respectively.
In the off-season of 1993, Akira Ogi took the team over as the manager from Shozo Doi. And then in 1994, Ogi selected Ichiro Suzuki to be a regular outfielders of the first team because of other players getting injury or facing slump and registered as Ichiro, not Suzuki. In the same year, Ichiro achieved 200 hits in the season, which was the first record in NPB history.
Unfortunately, on January 17th, 1995, the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake occurred.
All the members of the ORIX Blue Wave did their best under the slogan “Ganbaro Kobe” (meaning “We Kobe Never Give Up”) and they won the Pacific League championship in the year, which gave Kobe a great impression and courage. Although they were defeated by the Yakult Swallows by 1 win to 4 loses in the 1995 Japan Series, in the following year, 1996, the Blue Wave won the league champion again and this time beat the Yomiuri Giants by 4 wins to 1 loss, and achieved the Japan Series title for the first time in 19 years after they won the victory in the 1977, and also this triumph was their first time after they were transferred in 1988.
In the off-season of this year, Shigetoshi Hasegawa was traded to the Anaheim Angels of MLB.
After that, the Blue Wave managed to remain in Class A, but in 2000, the team came in fourth, going down to Class B. With this situation, Ichiro moved to the Seattle Mariners of MLB by using a posting system. In addition, in 2001, So Taguchi declared free agency and moved to the St. Louis Cardinals of MLB. With these main players of the golden age transferred, the Orix Blue Wave got into their slump.
And in 2005, it was announced that the team would merge with the Kintetsu Buffaloes, which resulted in the birth of the ORIX Buffaloes.