Chiba Lotte Marines

Founded in 1950 by the Mainichi newspaper company and known as the Orions for four decades, the team was purchased by Lotte, a Korean confectionery company, in 1969.

Along with the new ballpark in 1992, the team got a new name. “Marines” refer to the team’s new seaside home.

Playing in QVC Stadium, thirty minutes south-east of Tokyo along the waterfront, Lotte games seldom draw a crowd. Because of the cold wind blowing in from the bay, it can be an uncomfortable place in April and May. Because of its deep outfield walls and a large foul territory, Marine Stadium is one of the toughest places in Japan to hit a home run. But the stadium attendants are friendly and helpful.

Through the years, the Orions and Marines have featured several all-time greats, including three-time triple crown winner Hiromitsu Ochiai (who played for Lotte from 1979-86), 215 game-winner Choji Murata (1968-90), career .320 hitter Leron Lee (1977-87) and Hideki Irabu (1988-96).

Their initial black, white and neon lavender uniforms were retired after the 1994 season and since then they have worn black pinstripes at home while donning black on gray road uniforms. The team employs a six-foot seagull mascot.

Acknowledgment: Dan Latham