| Tokyo Big6 Baseball League
|| 1925 |
|| 6 |
|| 20 |
|Meiji Jingu Tournament Championships
|| 10 |
|| Kantō, Japan |
|| 1 - Tokyo |
|| Tokyo, Japan |
Tokyo Big6 Baseball League (東京六大学野球連盟,Tōkyō roku daigaku yakyū renmei) is an intercollegiate baseball league that features six prominent universities in the Tokyo area. Before the establishment and subsequent growth of Nippon Professional Baseball, the Big6 League was widely considered the highest level of baseball in Japan.
- Established: 1915
- All-Time Record: 1029-730-97
- League Championships: 42
- Last Championship: Spring 2006
- Established: 1892
- All-Time Record: 1019-734-78
- League Championships: 31
- Last Championship: Autumn 2004
- Established: 1910
- All-Time Record: 1042-724-77
- League Championships: 31
- Last Championship: Spring 2004
- Established: 1909
- All-Time Record: 784-972-86
- League Championships: 12
- Last Championship: Autumn 1999
- Established: 1917
- All-Time Record: 240-1390-51
- League Championships: None
- Last Championship: N/A
- Established: 1901
- All-Time Record: 1091-655-76
- League Championships: 39
- Last Championship: Spring 2007
The Tokyo Big6 Baseball League was established in 1925
. It is also the origin of the Tokyo 6 Universities (Tōkyō roku daigaku
) nickname that is given to the same six universities.
All games are played at Meiji Jingu Stadium
City in Downtown Tokyo
. Games are known to be rowdy and celebratory, with male cheerleaders (応援団, Ōendan
), cheerleaders and bands working themselves and the crowd into a frenzy.
Schedule and Rules
The six teams play short eight weekend seasons in the spring and autumn of a given year. A team plays a short series against each of the five other teams in the league. The series format is similar to a three game playoff, where the first to two wins is given a series victory. Home field is alternated, as all games are played at Jingu Stadium
. Should a team sweep the first two games, no further games are played.
The champion of the league is determined by the team with the most series victories. The champion team is given the Emperor's Cup. This is exceptional in that the other Emperor's cups are given to national champions in other sports such as Emperor's Cup of Football. The spring champion is allowed to participate in the All Japan University Baseball Championship Series while the fall champion is allowed to compete in the Meiji Jingu Stadium Tournament.
The league uses rules that are similar to the National and Central Leagues. The designated hitter rule is not used and the pitcher is required to bat. Also, unlike American university leagues, non-wood bats are banned.
Hosei University has won the league the most times with 42 league championships. Waseda University follows with 39 championships, despite sporting the best record in the league's history. Keio University and Meiji University follow with 31 league championships each. Rikkio trails with 12, while Tokyo University has never won a Big6 Championship.
Waseda vs. Keio: Sōkeisen
The series between Waseda
, , attracts the most attention and is greatly enjoyed by the students, not least because it causes classes at both universities to be canceled. The game is still broadcasted on NHK
and it is the only series played during the last week of the season.[www.japannewsreview.com/sports/20070603page_id=51 ]
The Sōkeisen actually predates the establishment of the Tokyo Big6 League by over 20 years, beginning in 1903. The games often caused much tension between the two student bodies, often spilling out of the stadium and leading to the cancellation of games.
The addition of Meiji (1914), Hosei (1917) and Rikkio (1921) would do little to remedy the rivalry. This state would continue until the addition of Tokyo Imperial University and the official establishment of the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League.
The name is a combination of the two university's names first kanji characters and the character for battle or match, . Sō, is the alternate reading of in (also from the short name, ), while is the first character of .