The Baystars were originally owned by Taiyo, a fishery company, and based in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. In 1955, the Taiyo Whales relocated to the industrial city of Kawasaki (Kanagawa Prefecture), not far from where they currently play.
While based in Kawasaki, the team won its first-ever Japan Series in 1960, but spent much of its history at, or near the bottom of the standings. In 1978, they moved into their current home, Yokohama Stadium, and were renamed the Yokohama Baystars in 1993. Taiyo Fishery remained in control of the team until 2002 when TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) took over operations. Then in December 2011, the club was sold to mobile and online service provider DeNA (pronounced Dee-En-Ay).
The team’s best year was arguably 1998, in which it won its first pennant and Japan Series in 38 seasons. That incarnation of the Baystars boasted a powerful lineup and the most dominant closer in the game (Kazuhiro Sasaki). Five players would win Golden Gloves, while six would be named to the Best Nine CL team. However, they soon afterward lost Sasaki to the Seattle Mariners and dwelled near the bottom of the standings for nearly two decades.
The team hired beloved former player Alex Ramirez (the only foreign-born player in NPB with 2,000 hits) as Manager in 2016. Subsequently, the Baystars gained popularity and put a competitive product on the field for the five seasons under his guidance, including an appearance in the 2017 Japan Series (they lost in six games to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks).
Still, they have not really come close to winning a pennant in more than two decades, with 2019 being their best showing (5.5 games behind the Giants). As a result, Ramirez stepped away after a 4th-place finish in 2020 in a mutual decision with team management. In his popular shoes steps former Baystars pitcher Daisuke Miura, who delighted the home fans for 15 years as the team’s ace.
Team Slogan 2023: 横浜頂戦 (Yokohama Chosen) = Yokohama Battle for the Top
Current Standout Players: Shugo Maki (24, INF): .291/.354/.507, 24 HR 87 RBI in 2022; Shota Imanaga (29, LHP): 143.2 IP, 11 W, 4 L, 2.26 ERA, 132 K in 2022
Current Manager: Daisuke Miura (since 2021)
Franchise Established on: November 22, 1949
Central League Pennants Won: 2 (1960, 1998)
Championships Won: 2 (1960, 1998)
Notable MLB Exports: Kazuhiro Sasaki (Mariners), Takashi Saito (Dodgers, etc.) and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Rays).
Spring Training Location: Ginowan, Okinawa