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Nippon Pro Baseball (NPB)
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    (1950- )
    Two leagues (Central and Pacific)
    Six teams per league
    League champions compete in the Japan Series
    Though baseball was introduced to Japan in the mid-1930s, the leagues were not organized until 1950.
    Twenty of their championships have been won by the Yomiuri Giants.
    Major corporations own and place their name on every team.
    League members are often heavily biased towards Japanese players.
    Two foreign players, Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera, were denied the chance to break Sadaharu Oh's single-season home run record by Japanese players.
    There is a four foreign-player limit on a team.
    Foreign players take the blame for teams' failures.
    Many people accuse the league of nationalism.
    Games can end in ties after 12 innings.
    Before 2006, teams were allowed to use their own baseballs.
    Also before 2006, pitchers in the league were allowed to pause twice in their pitching delivery. This threw off foreign players and hurt their own chances in international competition.
    They want to preserve Sadaharu Oh's records when he, ironically, is not a Japanese citizen.
    Their Spring Training is far more rigorous than that of Major League Baseball.
    They saw the MLB bias in the World Baseball Cup, and voted against participating (July 2005).
    American fans tend to underestimate the top talent in the league.
    A Major League Baseball season opening series between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays took place in the Tokyo Dome (2003).
    Every November, Japanese stars meet MLB stars in an eight-game series in Japan.
    Former MLB players, such as Tuffy Rhodes, Benny Agbayani, Matt Franco, Tony Batista, and Alex Cabrera play there.
    Former MLB manager Bobby Valentine is the manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines.
    Their all-time home run king, Sadaharu Oh, holds the official world home run record with 868.
    They started the careers of such players as Ichiro, Hideki Matsui and Hideo Nomo.
    The Yomiuri Giants won nine consecutive Japan Series titles (1965-1973).

Credit: Freedom Rock

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