Home baseball The Colonel’s Curse: Baseball, a Statue, and Fried Chicken

The Colonel’s Curse: Baseball, a Statue, and Fried Chicken

by archysport

Probably on more than one occasion you have heard of the Curse of the Bambino, one of the greatest in the history of Major League Baseball. Yes, the one that lasted 86 years and, according to legend, was brought about when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth’s contract to the Yankees, his biggest rival.

As in various sports around the world, there is a team in the Japan Professional Baseball League (NPB) that has its own spell: the Colonel’s Curse. And yes, the deductions are true, since they all refer to Colonel Sanders, founder of the Kentuchy Fried Chicken restaurant chain.

This curse falls squarely on Hanshin Tigers, one of the NPB Central League teams, that although they are not at all among the winners of the circuit, they have one of the most faithful hobbies that can be seen in Japanese baseball.

After several seasons in which they finished top or bottom in the league standings, the constant was the same: stay on the shore. The tigers they won the championship twice of the Central League in Japan and both times they lost la Nippon Series, the equivalent of the World Series.

History changed in 1985 when they finally won the absolute championship of Japan against the Seibu Lions, and of course the celebration could only live up to what it feels like to win a title for the first time.

The fans began to take the streets of Osaka until they reached the Ebisu Bridge, where hundreds of people gathered for the celebration. Legend has it that the crowd shouted the names of the players who had won the title that year and a person with a physical resemblance to the player jumped into the Dōtonbori River.

The problem came when Randy Bass, American baseball player and MVP of that final, since no person had the necessary resemblance. Creativity was what was most abundant at that moment among the euphoric fans and they found the solution in a statue of the Coronel Sanders. After being carried by the fans to the bridge, the statue was thrown into the river.

The next morning, a group of fans returned to the Puente Ebisu, place where the celebration had occurred, to look for the figure and apologize to the restaurant manager, but surprisingly they no longer found it.

Then the losing streak of Hanshin Tigers started. Four of the next six seasons finished last and the team has yet to win a Nippon Series again although they have already played it a couple of times after 1985.

The figure of Colonel Sanders was recovered from the depths of the Dōtonbori River on March 11, 2009, while a group of workers carried out cleaning work to lay a paved road along the canal. The statue does not have his left hand or the glasses he originally had on; different versions ensure that, As long as these two parts of the statue are not recovered, the curse will remain for the Tigers.


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