The Return of Colonel Sanders

» 16 April 2009 » In npb, sports business »

After spending 24 years on the riverbed of Osaka’s polluted Dotonbori, the statue of Colonel Sanders has reemerged. The statue was thrown into the river 24 years ago when fans were celebrating the Hanshin Tigers’ first championship championship since 1964. The statue apparently looked similiar to star player, Randy Bass, and the fans decided to throw the statue into the air to honor him. Nobody thought it was a good idea to pull the statue back up at the time.

24 years have passed and despite coming close on occassions, the Tigers have not reached the top of NPB since. Although it is nowhere near the drought of the Chicago Cubs and their Billy Goat curse, fans have come to believe the Curse of Colonel Sanders is the reason that the Tigers haven’t won another Japan championship. However with its re-discovery on March 10th, die-hard Tigers fans hope that the drought will finally come to an end.

Even though the disappearance of the Colonel Sanders statue was due to fans overreacting after the championship, the Hanshin Tigers are capable of  promoting and marketing the return of the Colonel Sanders as part of thier folklore. The statue has been on couple television shows already and the team hopes to retrieve the statue for the future as it will be taken to the Kentucky Fried Chicken Office in Tokyo for the time being.

The Sankei News has comments from the new manager, Akinobu Mayumi: “The reason for the drought probably is not all about the Colonel Sanders, but receiving all this attention, we should definitely bring the statue back to Koshien.” It is somewhat ironic that he was part of the 1985 championship Hanshin Tigers as a player and will manage his first season in the year that the Colonel Sanders has returned.

There are number of speculations on the future of the statue with stories such as the Chicago Cubs might being interested in borrowing the statue. However, the obvious should be to place the statue in the  Koshien history museum, which will open to public on March of 2010. There is a different Colonel Sanders statue stationed in front of the KFC stand inside Koshien Stadium (the only Colonel Sanders statue inside a ballpark in Japan) and it’s increasing popularity with fans attending the national tournament taking their time to take pictures with the statue.

PR staff from KFC comments: “it’s the only one in the world. We hope to face the “Old” Colonel Sanders statue with our statue inside the ballpark and form a duo.”


Trackback URL

Comments are closed.