The Saitama Seibu Lions are a Japanese professional baseball team and belong to the Pacific League. Their home stadium is Seibu Prince Dome in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture. Their parent company is Seibu Railway Co.,Ltd.
The team was founded in 1950 as ‘the Nishitetsu Clippers’, and joined Pacific League and their parent company was Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co.,Ltd, a private railway in Fukuoka Prefecture. In the following year, 1951, they took over ‘the Nishinippon Pirates’ and became ‘Nishitetsu Lions’.
Later, Nishitetsu Co.,Ltd withdrew from the management of the team. The team name was changed twice, and then in 1978, the Seibu Lions based in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture was born. Since then they have been active in the world of Japanese professional baseball.
The Seibu Lions are by far the best team in the Pacific League. They are proud of their 21 league championships, 13 Japan Series titles and 45 Class-A titles, and established the golden age of the team from the 1980s to the 1990s.
Kazuo Matsui and Daisuke Matsuzaka are the leading players in the Lions. Matsui, a switch-hitter, joined the team in 1993, and won three stolen base leader titles and two single-season hit records. He greatly contributed to three Japan Series championships.
In 2004, he moved to the USA to join the Major League, playing an active role in the New York Mets, the Colorado Rockies, and then the Huston Astros for seven years.
In 1998, Matsuzaka, on the other hand, led his high school, Yokohama High School to the achievement of National High School Baseball Championship title for the spring and summer tournaments in the same year. In the draft of this fall, the Seibu Lions, the Nippon-Ham Fighters and the Yokohama Baystars competed in the domination race, and the Seibu won the first round of the draft, and Matsuzaka joined the Lions.
Matsuzaka, who was called ‘Heisei no Kaibutsu, or Heisei Monster’, achieved 16 wins in his first year as one of the starting pitchers, and also won the rookie of the year. Before moving to MLB, he greatly contributed to the team with two Pacific league championships and one Japan Series title. The showdown between Matsuzaka, and Ichiro, who belonged to the Orix at that time, attracted a great deal of public attention.
In 2006, Matuzaka also moved to the USA to join the Boston Red Sox of the Major League. In his first year, he became the first Japanese winning pitcher in the World Series, and experienced the World Series championship of the team.