The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are a Japanese professional baseball team and belong to the Pacific League. Their home stadium is Rakuten Kobo Stadium Miyagi, or Kobo Park Miyagi in Miyagino-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, and their parent company is Rakuten, Inc, an IT company, which provides Internet services such as ‘Rakuten Ichiba’ and ‘Rakuten Travel in EC Mall.
The Eagles were founded in 2004. They are the newest team of the twelve baseball teams. They entered NPB as a new baseball team for the first time in 50 years after the new entry of the Takahashi Unions in 1954.
The Eagles started to join the Pacific League pennant race in the 2005 season ,but except for the year of 2009 when they came in second in the league championship and advanced to their first Climax Series, they went down to the Class-B stage seven times in eight seasons until the 2012 seasons.
However, in the 2013 season when it was three years after Hoshino, the manager, who had led the Chunichi and the Hanshin to the league championship, was installed, the Eagles continued to make a good performance from the opening game and achieved their first championship in the Pacific League. Their good performance also continued in the Climax Series. In the final stage, they defeated the Lotte by a score of 4-1. In the Japan Series, the Eagles also beat the Giants, a king of the Central League, by a close score of 4-3, and won the Japan Series title.
The leading players in the Eagles are Hisashi Iwakuma, and Masahiro Tanaka, both of whom are great pitchers in Japan. Iwakuma played an active role as a pitching ace from the foundation of the team. And in 2008, he won 21 games, gaining the titles of the most winning pitcher, Earned Run Average Leader, and the highest winning percentage.
In 2009, Iwakuma was selected as a member of the Japan National Baseball Team for the second WBC, and contributed to the Samurai Japan’s gaining two WBC championships as one of the three leading starting pitchers including Daisuke Matsuzaka and Darvish. In 2012, Iwakuma moved to the Seattle Mariners and now he is active as a member of the starting rotation.
Tanaka joined the Rakuten, which had won the right to negotiate a contract with him as a result of competing with four teams in the 2006 draft meeting. In his first year, he played an active role as the pillar of the team, won 11 games, and received the rookie of the year.
In 2013, Tanaka got all the titles for a pitcher with a record of 24 wins and no losses, and winning percentage 1.000. He made a large contribution to the Eagle’s victory in the league championship and the Japan Series.
In the December of this year, he declared that he would move to MLB by using the posting system, and in the following year, 2014, he signed an agreement with the New York Yankees of the MLB on a 155-million dollar, seven-year contract.