The image of white-suited and goateed Kentucky Colonel Harland Sanders, who was in his sixties when he founded a little fried chicken business, remains for many Americans the ultimate icon of success in later life. But in Japan his effigy has had a little different history for the last 25 years—one, until recently, associated with a curse on baseball’s legendary Hanshin Tigers.
The team hasn’t won a championship since the Tigers victory in the Japan Series in 1985. Following the win, fans grabbed a life-size statue of the Colonel from in front of a Colonel Sanders’ Kentucky Fried Chicken and, to celebrate, pitched it into the Dontonburi Canal because it resembled slugging first baseman Randy Bass. Baseball lore had it that the Tigers would never win a championship again until the statue was found. In March, hope resurfaced for the Tigers when a construction crew, building a boardwalk along the canal, discovered the statue.
The refurbished statue (below), now glass enclosed for protection, was placed on display last week at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet near Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya.
Japanese baseball hero Bass, 56, has reinvented himself as an Oklahoma state senator
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