The Pacific League is one of the two major leagues in Japan that participate in the Japan Series. The league is often referred to as the Pa League and is called Pa Rigu and Pashifikku Rigu in Japanese. The league was founded in 1949, when it was originally called the Taiheiyo Baseball Union. Its current name was adopted in 1980.
The current teams in the Pacific League include the following:
• Chiba Lotte Mariners • Fukuoka Softbank Hawks• Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters • Orix Buffaloes• Saitama Seibu Lions • Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
The Orix Buffaloes team is a product of the merge between the Orix Blue Whales and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes. To fill the void caused by the merger, the franchise was granted to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. All the teams in this league adopt the name of their sponsors unlike the Central League which has one team that does not use its sponsor’s name.
The teams in the league use designated hitters when one of the teams hosts a game.
In 2004, a three-game playoff system known as the Pacific League Championship Series, was introduced. The winner of the championships becomes the Pacific League’s representative at the Japan Series. This system proved successful for the Pa League and has helped it win every Japan Series since its introduction. The success of the Pacific League Championship Series has led the Central League to create a similar playoff system in 2007. Since then, this intra-league was renamed the ‘Climax League’. Player drafting orders and stats are not affected by the results of the Climax League. In 2008, the Saitama Seibu Lions was the team which won the Climax League.