Central League

This article is about the Japanese baseball league. For other uses, see Central League (disambiguation).
Central League
Sport Baseball
Founded 1949
No. of teams 6
Country Japan
Most recent
Hiroshima Toyo Carp (7th)
Most titles Yomiuri Giants (45)

The Central League (セントラル・リーグ Sentoraru Rīgu) or Ce League (セリーグ Se Rīgu) is one of the two professional baseball leagues that constitute Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The winner of the league championship plays against the winner of the Pacific League in the annual Japan Series. It currently consists of six teams from around the country. Unlike the Pacific League, designated hitters are not used during Central League home games.


The Central League was founded in 1949 with eight teams: four holdovers from the previous Japanese Baseball League — the Chunichi Dragons, the Hanshin Tigers, the Yomiuri Giants, and the Shochiku Robins (formerly the Taiyō Robins) — and four new teams — the Hiroshima Carp, the Kokutetsu Swallows, the Nishi Nippon Pirates, and the Taiyō Whales.

The Nishi Nippon Pirates existed for one season — they placed sixth in 1950, and the following season merged with the also Fukuoka-based Nishitetsu Clippers (a member of the Pacific League) to form the Nishitetsu Lions, who joined the Pacific League. This brought the number of Central League teams down to an ungainly arrangement of seven.

Ryuji Suzuki became president of the Central League in 1952.[1]

In 1952, it was decided that any team ending the season with a winning percentage below .300 would be disbanded or merged with other teams. The Shochiku Robins fell into this category, and were merged with the Taiyō Whales to become the Taiyō Shochiku Robins in January 1953. This enabled the Central League to shrink to an even number of six teams.

Ryuji Suzuki retired as CL president in 1984 after 33 years at the post.[1]

In 2007, a new Climax Series was introduced. This playoff series was inspired by the stepladder playoff used in the Pacific League for the top three teams of the league to determine which one progressed to the Japan Series. Under the previous system, there was no post-season playoff and the winner of the pennant automatically qualified for the Japan Series.

Current teams

Team Japanese Name Place Stadium Sponsor
Chunichi Dragons 中日ドラゴンズ
Chūnichi Doragonzu
Nagoya, Aichi Nagoya Dome Chunichi Shimbun
Hanshin Tigers 阪神タイガース
Hanshin Taigāsu
Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Hanshin Koshien Stadium Hanshin Electric Railway
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 広島東洋カープ
Hiroshima Tōyō Kāpu
Hiroshima, Hiroshima MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima Matsuda family
(founding family of Mazda)
Tokyo Yakult Swallows ヤクルトスワローズ
Tōkyō Yakuruto Suwarōzu
Shinjuku, Tokyo Meiji Jingu Stadium Yakult
Yokohama DeNA BayStars 横浜DeNAベイスターズ
Yokohama DeNA Beisutāzu
Yokohama, Kanagawa Yokohama Stadium DeNA
Yomiuri Giants 読売ジャイアンツ
Yomiuri Jaiantsu
Bunkyo, Tokyo Tokyo Dome Yomiuri Shimbun

Central League pennant winners

Central League Climax Series winners

Central League statistics

Team Pennants Runners-up
Yomiuri Giants3411
Chunichi Dragons921
Hiroshima Toyo Carp76
Yakult Swallows74
Hanshin Tigers514
Yokohama BayStars24
Shochiku Robins10
Nishi Nippon Pirates00

Most Valuable Pitcher

See: Best Nine Award#Other notes

Best Nine Awards

Main article: Best Nine Award

See also


  1. 1 2 "SUZUKI, Ryuji," The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (Japan). Accessed March 27, 2015.

External links

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