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The Curse of Colonel Sanders

by on Mar.11, 2009 @ 5:03 am, under NPB

Hanshin fans are rejoicing -- Colonel Sanders has finally been found and fished out of the Dotonbori River.

Colonel, is that really you?!

Why is this such a big deal?

The Tigers last won the Nippon Series in 1985, the same year Randy Bass took home his first of two Triple Crowns (.350 / 54 HR / 134 RBI). Since then, the Tigers have paced the CL twice (2003 & 2005) but have not been able to get any further than that.

So what does Colonel Sanders have to do with all of this?

When the Tigers won the Nippon Series in 1985, fans went crazy and decided that jumping in to the Dotombori River would be a good way to celebrate their team's victory. In the excitement that ensued, a Colonel Sanders statue in front of a KFC was picked up and hurled into the river.

But why Colonel Sanders?

Colonel Sanders = Randy Bass? hmm...

While I can't really confirm this, outside of a few reports I've seen on TV mentioning this, some fans used Colonel Sanders as a symbolic place-holder to represent Randy Bass. By throwing Colonel Sanders into the river, they were also throwing Bass into the river -- they were celebrating the victory with Bass through Colonel Sanders.

So where does this curse come in?

Ever since this incident, the team hasn't had much success. Fans started linking this event to the teams failures and it soon took on a life of it's own, much like the Curse of the Bambino (although without the same kind of history).

And the latest update: Colonel Sanders' right hand and lower body were fished out of the river earlier today.

Has the curse been lifted?

It sounds like the Tigers are now trying to get the Colonel Sanders figure on loan so that they can display it at Koshien Kyujo.

6 comments on “The Curse of Colonel Sanders

  1. knucklehead7

    From a story that SI ran about Bass back in 1987:


    As for Bass’s brown beard, Gillette paid him thirty million yen ($185,000) last year to shave it off for a Japanese ad campaign. Market research had shown it to be the most recognizable beard in Japan—just ahead of Ringo Starr’s. Let it be, pleaded Hanshin officials, fearful Bass would jinx the team by shaving off his whiskers. Bass laughed all the way to the ginko.

    The Hottest American Import In Japan

  2. knucklehead7

    Colonel Sanders Wants to Break Cubs’ Curse


    KFC sees this as an opportunity to help the greasy-chicken loving fans back home. On Thursday, the chicken king wrote an open letter to the new owners of the Cubs offering up the Colonel statue for Opening Day. But their choice of words makes this a bittersweet curse-breaking offer.

    "Dear new owners of the 100-plus year championship drought," the letter begins. Ouch.

  3. Gwynar

    "We are working desperately with our Japanese colleagues to bring the curse-breaking Colonel Sanders statue to your field by opening day. While we can’t promise the statue will snap curses of billy goats, black cats or even a foul-ball-interfering fan, we figure it can’t hurt."

    Curse-breaking? We don’t know that yet.

  4. Gwynar

    What’s interesting is that I don’t think I’ve heard one story about the Cubs getting the figure in the Japanese media, unless of course I missed the story on it.

    As far as I know, the Tigers are trying to get it to put on display at their park.

    …so I find all of this kind of interesting.

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