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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Japan baseball fans hope to lift “Col Sanders’ curse”

I would sorta get it if they threw ol’ Harlond off a clift…but a bridge?

Japanese baseball fans in Osaka hope to have lifted “the curse of Colonel Sanders” when a statue of the Kentucky Fried Chicken founder rose from the sludge of a local river after a quarter century.

When the city’s Hanshin Tigers won the national championship in 1985, ecstatic fans hurled the fast food icon into a river to honour their team’s bearded US slugger and home run king Randy Bass, saying he resembled the Colonel.

Baseball lore in the western city recalls how the drunken supporters “liberated” the bespectacled figure from a restaurant and threw him from a bridge into the grey waters of the Dotonbori river, hours after their first ever victory.

Since that crazy night the team’s fortunes have sunk as fast as the life-sized statue. The Tigers have failed to sign promising rookies and never won another national championship, in a streak of ill fortune that has become known as “the curse of Colonel Sanders” across baseball-obsessed Japan.

Local fans now hope all of that will change after construction workers in a surprise find this week recovered the statue—minus his glasses, but just in time for the start of the baseball season next month.

Thanks to crict.

Repoz Posted: March 11, 2009 at 05:52 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, international, japan

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Gamingboy Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:05 PM (#3099999)
BEAT ME TO IT AGAIN, REPOZ!


I worry that this will cause Cubs fans to find the grave of the Billy Goat in order to exhume it and bring it's rottened-away bones Wrigley.

Also: if Japan loses in the WBC, Yomiuri Fans will blame it on the Colonel being found. Bank on it.
   2. Hubie Brooks (Not Really) Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:14 PM (#3100018)
Sounds like a Simpson-esqe mob. Must have been a great party.
   3. jwb Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:22 PM (#3100037)
I worry that this will cause Cubs fans to find the grave of the Billy Goat
Mmm. . . Gyros sandwiches!
   4. Gamingboy Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:32 PM (#3100059)
Sounds like a Simpson-esqe mob. Must have been a great party.


Random Lady: Look, it's the long lost Colonel Sanders statue!

Homer: Chicken? Where!?
   5. PreservedFish Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:35 PM (#3100065)
They don't explain this story fully. IIRC they picked people out from the crowd that resembled each of the Hanshin starting 9. They couldn't find any white guys for Randy Bass, which is why they threw in Colonel Sanders.

It wasn't just exuberant vandalism.
   6. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:41 PM (#3100078)
Was it playing "Dixie" on Babe Ruth's piano?
   7. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:46 PM (#3100088)
So what are the baseball salaries like in Japan?
   8. Jose Molina wants a nickname like "A-Rod" Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:48 PM (#3100092)
Huh, I always thought Randy Bass was black.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:50 PM (#3100095)
No, white, with a bearded lumberjack look
   10. Hubie Brooks (Not Really) Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:50 PM (#3100096)
http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1065766/1/index.htm

Cool article from 1987 on Bass.
   11. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 11, 2009 at 06:53 PM (#3100101)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Bass

The Curse Of the Colonel

Bass is also famous in Japan for the "Curse of the Colonel." Following the 1985 Series victory, revelers celebrated by calling off the names of team members one by one. At each name, a fan who looked like that player would jump into the filthy Dotonbori canal. For Bass, someone threw a life-sized model of Colonel Sanders, the mascot of Kentucky Fried Chicken and the only close-at-hand likeness of a bearded American, into the river. The statue disappeared and is said to have caused the subsequent decade-long dismal performance in the Central League.

In an attempt to remove the curse, fans made repeated attempts to find the model, making offerings to the statues of the Colonel for forgiveness. In 2003, when the Tigers returned to the Japan Series after 18 years with one of the worst records in the Central League, many KFC outlets in K?be and ?saka moved their Colonel Sanders statues inside until the series was over to protect them from rabid Tigers fans. The newly replaced Colonel Sanders statue in the Dotonbori KFC branch is bolted down to prevent a repeat of the incident. The Tigers failed to win the series, so the curse is presumably intact.

On March 10, 2009, the top half of the statue (minus hands and legs) originally thrown into the Dotonbori River was recovered during construction of a walkway. A diver said that he had thought he had found a large barrel, but was surprised when it turned out to be the upper body of Colonel.[2] The statue's legs and right hand were recovered the following day. The statue is still missing its glasses and left hand. KFC is reportledly considering donating the statue to the Osaka Tigers' home stadium.[3]
   12. The Good Face Posted: March 11, 2009 at 07:06 PM (#3100130)
making offerings to the statues of the Colonel for forgiveness


Awesome.

A thousand years from now, he will be venerated as a god, his 11 Golden Branches of Wisdom a guideline for harmonious and just living.
   13. crict Posted: March 11, 2009 at 07:21 PM (#3100160)
Huh, I always thought Randy Bass was black.


Same for me. I guess we're thinking of this guy.
   14. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 11, 2009 at 07:37 PM (#3100190)
I have to admit that I, too, confused Randy Bass for Kevin Bass until 30 minutes ago.
   15. Jeff K. Posted: March 11, 2009 at 07:51 PM (#3100230)
Huh, I always thought Randy Bass was black.

You're thinking of Kevin Bass.

(EDIT) Oh, goddamnit. I guess we know what happens when I Bassume...
   16. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 11, 2009 at 07:57 PM (#3100240)
"...his 11 Golden Branches of Wisdom a guideline for harmonious and just living."

No! The recipe for enlightenment will always be a secret!
   17. Cabbage Posted: March 11, 2009 at 08:12 PM (#3100267)
Does Repoz take his meals at the House of the Venerable and Inscrutable Colonel?
   18. jwb Posted: March 11, 2009 at 08:35 PM (#3100302)
So what are the baseball salaries like in Japan?
Easier to make $300K to, say, $1.5M than in MLB, not likely to make more that. So a very attractive option for a AAAA/fringe player who would be making $65K or $10,750 (if outrighted and playing in AAA) here.
   19. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: March 11, 2009 at 08:48 PM (#3100324)
yeah, the curse stays until ALL of the statue is found.

The full excavation of the statue is a job for Senator Randy Bass and the Oklahoma Senate.
   20. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 11, 2009 at 08:48 PM (#3100326)
That Bass article was fantastic. I thought I'd heard all the good Rickey stories, then this arrives:

Rickey had a pair of heels on that were about four inches high. Everything was fine until these people came in yelling that they had guns. Then they started shooting.


Of course, the stuff about Bass is great, too.
   21. Jeff K. Posted: March 11, 2009 at 10:35 PM (#3100447)
Can someone give me the final 1987 stats for Bass and Ochiai? Having a hell of a time finding historical NPB stats.
   22. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 11, 2009 at 11:11 PM (#3100503)
The statue of Colonel Sanders from one of our local KFC outlets disappeared recently.
   23. Dan Evensen Posted: March 11, 2009 at 11:35 PM (#3100527)
This website should be easier to find.

(Almost) Complete Japanese Baseball Statistics.

Bass is under "Retired Foreign Player Batting Stats." It's not quite Baseball Reference, but it does the job. Diamond Mind disk homebrewers beware!
   24. Jeff K. Posted: March 12, 2009 at 12:10 AM (#3100555)
Well, Bass finished in basically a dead heat with Ochiai, so let me just say:

America, #### YEAH
   25. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 12, 2009 at 12:11 AM (#3100556)
"Can someone give me the final 1987 stats for Bass and Ochiai?"

IIRC, Bass's line is also printed in "You Gotta Have Wa".
   26. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 12, 2009 at 01:40 AM (#3100655)
Don't they have to blow up the statue to lift the curse?
   27. jwb Posted: March 12, 2009 at 01:58 AM (#3100682)
Another Japanese Baseball site.

320/403/607 for Bass, 331/435/602 for Ochiai, Jeff K.

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