The name was chosen in a contest. The winning entry was from a high school girl from Okayama prefecture. She suggested the name fighters because she felt one of the players on the team (Katsuo Osugi) has a fighting spirit. The team is owned by Nippon Ham (a food processing company).
The team was established in 1946 in Tokyo. There were great hardships in Japan after the war. For years the team was the poorest in the league. Players worn hand-me-down uniforms that did not fit.
They were so badly dressed that they suffered the nickname: the bluestockings ~ after a Japanese feminist magazine.
In 1973, they became the Nippon Ham Fighters. The team remained in Tokyo and shared a stadium with the Tokyo Giants. For the first four years 1974-78 they were near the bottom of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league.
From 1978 and 1980 they placed third in their league. Finally, in 1981 they took the Pacific league pennant. They lost to the Yomiuri Giants in the Japan series in six games.
At first the Ham Fighters fought the move from Tokyo to Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido. They had been locked in a (losing) battle with the Giants to become Tokyo's premier team.
In 2004, they were forced to move. In an effort to embrace their new fan base they renamed the team Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. They also pumped a lot of money into the team and signed several big hitters. They made the playoffs the first year in Sapporo.
The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters heavily discounted tickets in the first few seasons and sold out for exhibition, regular season and playoff games.
In the 2006 season they proved they were a dangerous team by winning 11 straight games. They went on to become the regular season champions and win their first first Japanese championship in their 44 history. The little team with the second hand uniforms finally reached the top.
They followed up with an excellent 2007 season ~ winning the Pacific League pennant.