Chiba Lotte Marines

The Mainichi Orions played their first professional baseball game in 1950, the year that the two-league NPB was formed. Consisting in part of players from the Hanshin Tigers and other teams, the Orions won the very first Japan Series that fall; it would be another 24 years before they won their second. Despite high-profile players like Hiromitsu Ochiai (three-time Triple Crown, three-time home run king, five-time batting champ among other titles), Leron LeeChoji Murata, and Michiyo Arito in the 1980s, the team came up empty-handed year in and year out. Upon Ochiai’s departure after the 1986 season, mediocrity (or misery?) set in as the Orions spiraled down into irrelevance for a long spell.


Stints in Tokyo (1950-72), Sendai (1973-77) and Kawasaki (1978-91) had this transient team leaving behind stadiums and fan bases. Two dates are key in forging their current identity: Korean confectionery company Lotte purchased the team in 1969, and in 1992, the team finally settled in Chiba when it moved into its current home stadium. Because of its proximity to the seaside, the team was renamed Marines.


Still, it took until Bobby Valentine’s second stint with the team in 2005 for them to win another Japan Series. Bobby V became a huge celebrity in Japan, and had a six-season tenure with the team, but their split after the 2009 season was hardly amicable or even mutually agreed upon. The very next season, under a new manager, they finished in third place but won three consecutive series started on the road, giving them one of the most improbable Japan Series wins in league history.

It has now been 14 seasons since that championship, and the Marines find themselves sporting the longest pennant drought in the Pacific League.

Team Slogan 2024: 自分たちを超えてゆく。 (Jibuntachi wo koete yuku) Exceed ourselves.

Current Standout Players: Gregory Polanco (32, DH): .242/.312/.450, 26 HR, 75 RBI, Best Nine in 2023 / Roki Sasaki (22, RHP): 91 IP, 7 W, 4 L, 1.78 ERA, 135 K in 2023

Current ManagerMasato Yoshii (since 2023)

Franchise Established on: September 21, 1949

Pacific League Pennants Won: 5 (1950, 1960, 1970, 1974, 2005)

Championships Won: 4 (1950, 1974, 2005, 2010)

Notable MLB Exports: Hideki Irabu (Yankees, etc.), Hirokazu Sawamura (Red Sox)

Spring Training Location: Ishigaki, Okinawa; Itoman, Okinawa 

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