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