The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles team was founded at the conclusion of the 2004 season to begin play in the Pacific League. The team was created to fill the void created by the merger of the Orix BlueWave and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes. Those teams merged after the 2004 season due to financial difficulties to become the Orix Buffaloes.
Internet shopping mall operator Rakuten, the new team’s owner, named the ballclub the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. It is the first expansion team in the Japanese leagues in more than 50 years.
The team is based in the city of Sendai in the Tohoku region in north-eastern Japan and is named after the golden eagles living in a mountain range in the area. The baseball Eagles will play their home games at Kleenex Miyagi Stadium in Sendai which may be reached in less than two hours from Tokyo on the Shinkansen Bullet Train.
Rakuten hired former Birmingham Barons team president Marty Kuehnert as its first general manager, the first American to hold such a post in Japan.
Acknowledgment: Wayne Graczyk