Oklahoma Lawmaker Played For Hanshin Tigers In Mid-1980s
KOCO.com, March 12, 2009
LAWTON, Okla. — An Oklahoma state lawmaker from Lawton is being celebrated again in Japan on Thursday, more than 20 years after his baseball career ended overseas and 23 years after a legendary incident.
That’s because the “Curse of the Colonel” may have been lifted. State Sen. Randy Bass, who turns 55 on Friday, was a Major League Baseball player for six seasons in the late 1970s and early 1980s before embarking on a Japanese baseball career, widely considered to be the greatest for any American in Japan.
Bass is also credited with turning around the fortune of the Hanshin Tigers, a team that won the Japan Series in 1985. As part of the championship celebration, fans who resembled players on the team jumped into a dirty body of water.
Because none of the fans looked like the bearded American, a life-sized statue of Colonel Harlan Sanders — famous as the personification of KFC and the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken — was thrown into the Dotonbori River.
Having not won another Japan Series title since 1985, some fans of the Hanshin Tigers have attributed their championship drought to the so-called curse. The Colonel Sanders statue was retrieved this week; however, and Tigers’ fans and Bass hope the “curse” will be lifted.