Legend arising from the Hanshin Tigers' victory in the 1985 Japan Series. After the championship had been secured, a large group of revelers gathered at Namba Bridge over the Dotonburi in Osaka. Good Tigers fans one and all, they began chanting the name of each Tigers player on the roster. As each name was chanted, a fan thought to resemble that player would jump into the river below.

This was all well and good until they reached the name of Randy Bass. Bass was a bearded American, instrumental to the Tigers' triumph -- not only was he the Series MVP, he had also won the Triple Crown during the regular season, and nearly broken the Japan League record for home runs. Upon reaching Bass's name, the fans were stumped. None of the Japanese in the crowd resembled the slugger, and, strangely, there were no gaijin around who might be conveniently seized and thrown into the water (or, more likely, coaxed with alcohol to jump in of their own accord).

Unfortunately, one particularly creative fan seized not a gaijin, but upon an idea: didn't the decorative statue outside a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken resemble Bass? Unfortunate because the crowd agreed; unfortunate because they grabbed the statue, lifted it upon their shoulders, and chucked it into the river; unfortunate because the Colonel was never seen again.

It is said that until the Colonel is recovered and returned to his pedestal, Hanshin will never win another championship. Those who are skeptics would do well to examine Hanshin's performance in seasons since 1985.

In view of mauler's very optimistic write-up, below, an update:

Like their American curse counterparts -- the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox -- the Tigers came close-but-not-quite to winning that elusive title -- losing the Japan Series to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.

The Curse lives on.