The Yokohama DeNA BayStars are a Japanese baseball team and belong to the Central League. Their home stadium is Yokohama Stadium in Naka-ku, Yokohama City, and Kanagawa Prefecture. The parent company of the team is DeNA, which runs a business for an Internet auction, a shopping site, and the planning and management of a mobile portal website.
In May, 1929, the team was founded as a corporate team of Hayashikane Shoten (later Taiyo Fishery Co.,Ltd, and now Maruha Nichiro Corporation). At first the team was based in Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture as a franchise area, but so far it has changed its owner company, team name and home stadium several times.
The Yokohama DeNA BayStars are the only team in the Central League, which changed their team name three times; from the original one to ‘the Yokohama Taiyo Whales’, and next ‘the Yokohama BayStars’ and then the Yokohama DeNA BayStars after 1978 when the team moved to Yokohama.
The BayStars won the league championship and the Japan Series championship during the period of Taiyo Whales in 1960 and the Yokohama BayStars in 1998. However, after winning the titles in 1988, the team went into a slump, setting a disgraceful record of being ranked Class B for 10 successive years from 2006 to 2015.
The BayStars were the only team which had advanced to the Climax Series among the twelve Japanese professional baseball teams, until they came in third, and advanced to their first CS in the 2016 regular season.
Kazuhiro Sasaki, nicknamed ‘Hama no Daimajin’, was a right-handed relief pitcher of the team. He set a record of 45 saves, which was for the most saves in history and got Reliever of the Year Award for four straight years, contributing to the Yokohama BayStars winning the championship in both of the pennant race and the Japan Series in 1998 season.
Kazuhiro got the right of a free agent in 1999, and was traded to the Seattle Mariners of MLB. As a Mariners closer, he set a record of 129 saves in all in MLB and got MLB Rookie of the Year Award, and made a name as a closer not only in NPB but also in MLB.