The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks are a Japanese professional baseball team and belong to the Pacific League. Their home stadium is Fukuoka Yahuoku Dome in Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture and their parent company is Softbank Group Corp, which runs a telecommunications company and deals in mainly a cell phone.
The team was founded in 1938 as the Nankaigun managed by Nankai Electric Railway Co.,Ltd, a leading private railway company in Kansai region which provides a railway service to connect Osaka and Wakayama or Koyasan. In 1940, because of the war, their team name was changed to ‘the Kinki Nippongun’, and then to ‘the Great Ring. In 1946, the Great Ring competed with the Giants and won their first championship.
In the following year, 1947, their team name was changed again to ‘the Nankai Hawks’. In those days, the Hawks were the best team in the Pacific League, and until the latter half of 1970, they enjoyed the golden age of the team and achieved 26 Class A stages, 11 Pacific League championships, and 2 Japan Series titles.
However, in the 1980s, their performance began to go wrong and always stayed in Class
B. In 1988, Nankai Electric Railway Co., Ltd announced that they would sell the management right of the team to Daiei Inc, which runs a supermarket chain nationwide. Daiei moved Osaka Stadium, the Hawks’ home stadium to Heiwadai Stadium in Fukuoka, and the team started out as ‘the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks’.
Despite of the change of the team name, the Daiei Hawks continued to be in a long slump, but in the off-season of 1995, the construction of their new home stadium, Fukuoka Dome was completed, and then in 1995, Sadaharu Oh, a legend of NPB took charge of the team, which made their situation change for the better. The Hawks led by Oh improved by using a FA system and getting top players and promising rookies. As result, in Oh’s 4th season, 1998, The Hawks finished the season in Class A. In 1999 and 2000, they won the championship two years in a row. They succeeded in becoming the leader of the Pacific League again.
After the season, the Hawks kept having good results and stayed in Class A. In 2004, Softbank Group Corp, a leading IT company, purchased the management right of the Hawks from Daiei Inc, which made it possible for the team to get a lot of star players by using great funds from the company. Now the Hawks have been the strongest team that has the greatest asset and ability of the NPB twelve teams
The hawks have won 19 Pacific league championships, 7 Japan Series titles and 3 Climax Series titles including the titles during the period of the Nankai and the Daiei. They have always been a high-ranking team especially since 2000
A lot of players from the Hawks have challenged MLB so far. For example, Tadahito Iguchi, who belonged to the Chicago White Sox, Kenji Johjima, who became the first Japanese major leaguer as a catcher for the Seattle Mariners, Hideki Okajima, who contributed to the achievement of the World Series championship when he belonged to the Boston Red Sox, and Munenori Kawasaki, who has belong to the Chicago Cubs since the 2016 season.