Chiba Lotte Marines
千葉ロッテマリーンズ
Team logo Cap insignia
Information
LeagueNippon Professional Baseball
Pacific League (1950–present)
LocationMihama-ku, Chiba, Chiba, Japan
BallparkZOZO Marine Stadium
FoundedNovember 26, 1949; 74 years ago (1949-11-26)
Nickname(s)Kamome (鴎, seagulls)
PL pennants 5 (1950, 1960, 1970, 1974, 2005)
Japan Series championships4 (1950, 1974, 2005, 2010)
Former name(s)
  • Lotte Orions (1969–1991)
  • Tokyo Orions (1964–1968)
  • Daimai Orions (1958–1963)
  • Mainichi Orions (1950–1957)
Former ballparks
ColorsBlack, White
   
MascotMar-kun, Rine-chan, and Zu-chan
Playoff berths
Retired numbers
OwnershipKatsumi Kawai
ManagementLotte Holdings
ManagerMasato Yoshii
Uniforms

The Chiba Lotte Marines (千葉ロッテマリーンズ, Chiba Rotte Marīnzu) are a professional baseball team in Japan's Pacific League based in Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, in the Kantō region, and owned by Lotte Holdings Co., Ltd. The Marines were a founding member of the Pacific League in 1950 as the Mainichi Orions when the Japanese Baseball League reorganized into Nippon Professional Baseball, where they won the inaugural 1950 Japan Series. Since 1992, the Marines' home ballpark has been ZOZO Marine Stadium, located in the Mihama Ward of Chiba, seating 30,118 people.

The "Marines" name originates from the name of the stadium they play in, which is officially named Chiba Marine Stadium, because the stadium is located right on the water.

Through 2022, the franchise's all-time record is 4733-4701-394 (.501).[1]

History

The Marines franchise began in 1950 as the Mainichi Orions, an inaugural member of the Pacific League, and were owned by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper. The Orions were named after the constellation of the same name.[2] The Marines won the inaugural Japan Series in 1950.

In 1958, the team was merged with the Daiei Unions and renamed the Daimai Orions, to reflect that both Daiei and Mainichi had a 50% stake in the team, with control being given to Daiei Film president Masaichi Nagata. In 1964 they became the Tokyo Orions, and the Lotte Orions in 1969. The franchise was slow to replicate its initial success: the Orions made the Japan Series in 1960 and 1970, only to lose both years.

The team played in central Tokyo until 1972. From 1973 to 1977 the Lotte Orions played in the northern Japanese city of Sendai. In 1974, they beat the Chunichi Dragons, becoming the first Pacific League team to win the Series in ten years, as the Yomiuri Giants had claimed the prior nine titles behind the OhNagashima attack. After beating the Dragons, their owners, Lotte Holdings, decided to hold their victory parade in Tokyo, which shocked fans in Sendai. This eventually caused their attendance there to crash, from sold out games in 1973, to only about 2000-3000 for their last few years in Sendai.[3]

In 1977, the Orions signed Major League Baseball player Leron Lee, who ended up playing for the team for eleven seasons, compiling a .320 career batting average and slugging 283 home runs with 912 career RBI. From his retirement to early 2018 (when surpassed by Norichika Aoki), Lee held the Japanese record for career batting average (players with more than 4,000 at bats). In 1978, Lee invited younger brother Leon Lee to play in Japan, and the brothers formed a feared cleanup for the Orions for five seasons — in 1980, Leron had 33 home runs, 90 RBI, and a batting average of .358; while Leon slugged 41 home runs and drove in 116 runs, with a batting average of .340.

In 1978 the team returned to the Tokyo area, settling in Kawasaki's Kawasaki Stadium, at one time home to the Taiyo Whales (today's Yokohama DeNA Baystars).

In 1992, the team moved to Chiba City's Chiba Marine Stadium on the eastern shore of Tokyo Bay. They held a fan vote for a new name for the team; the name "Dolphins" won, while another popular choice was "Pirates". However, the name "Dolphins" was thrown out because though an unrelated team named the Nagoya Dolphins was long defunct, the letter "D" in broadcasts was already taken by the Dragons; while "Pirates" was disregarded because the Chiba Pirates name was used by a team in a baseball manga, and since the team in that manga is terrible, executives thought it would look bad on the real team. "Marines" was ultimately chosen because the team believed it meant "heroes of the sea" (and because the letter "M" was available), yielding the club name Chiba Lotte Marines.[2] Originally, the club used pink, blue, and white on their logo, which included a pirate ship, with a seagull below it, and a wave pattern to reflect the ocean currents off Chiba's coast. In 1995, this was changed to the logo's current design, while dropping pink and blue in favor of red, black and white (with red being dropped in 2019). The current logo's design features a baseball in the background with a seagull soaring, with the club's name around the circle.

The team failed to reach the Japan Series again until 2005. The Marines started the 2005 season in first place behind American manager Bobby Valentine, who had returned after having managed the team to a 2nd place finish in 1995 behind the Orix BlueWave, but struggles between him and general manager Tatsuro Hirooka had him leave after that lone season, but fell behind the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks as the year progressed. Under the playoff format of the time, the preliminary five-game playoff round, prior to the Japan Series, saw the teams with the best first and second half records face off. The Marines defeated the Hawks three games to two in the Pacific League championship, winning the rubber match despite entering the eighth inning trailing, 2–1.

The Marines thus qualified for the Japan Series, the first time they had reached the tournament since 1974, a 31-year drought. In a one-sided series, the Marines swept the Hanshin Tigers in four games, scoring ten runs in each of the first three games. The apparent ease with which the Marines defeated the Tigers added fuel to the ongoing debate concerning the need for a playoff system in the Central League, which was finally added in 2007 (see Climax Series). The Marines went on to defeat South Korea's Samsung Lions in the final round of the Konami Cup Championships.

In 2010, the Marines clinched third place on the last day of the season to earn a berth into the Climax Series. They went on to become the first third place team to ever win the Climax Series,[citation needed] and faced off with the Chunichi Dragons in the 2010 Japan Series. The Marines defeated the Dragons in seven games, composed of four wins, two losses, and one tie, winning their second Japan Series in under ten years.

In 2013, the Marines clinched third place to clinch a berth in the Climax Series and faced the Saitama Seibu Lions in the first stage. They defeated the Lions in 3 games to move onto the final stage. They would lose to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in 5 games, who would go on and defeat the Yomiuri Giants in 7 games to win their first (and still only) Japan Series title.

They would make it back in the playoffs in 2015. They defeated the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 3 games in the first round, then got swept by the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, who received a one game advantage for having the best record in the Pacific League.

The following season, they returned to the playoffs. They would make a much earlier exit, as they were swept by the Hawks in 2 games in the first stage.

It would not be until 2020 when they returned to the playoffs. The Hawks, with a 1 game advantage, would sweep them again in the first stage.

They bounced back the following year by defeating the Eagles in 2 games in the first stage, including a tie in the second game which allowed them to advance as they had the better record at 67-57-19, while the Eagles had a 66-62-15 record. They got swept by the Orix Buffaloes in the final stage in 3 games, however a tie in the third game and Orix having the better record at 70-55-18, allowed the Buffaloes to advance.

On April 10, 2022, Rōki Sasaki threw a perfect game, NPB's first in 28 years and the 16th in NPB history. Sasaki tied an existing NPB record by striking out 19 batters, and setting a new record by striking out 13 consecutive batters. [4] It didn't do much to help the season, as the Marines finished in 5th place with a 69-73-1 record, and Tadahito Iguchi would be let go after that season, replaced by Masato Yoshii.

The Marines would edge out the Hawks and Eagles in a close playoff race in 2023, finishing 2nd with a 70-68-5 record. They would defeat the Hawks in 3 games in the first stage, but lost in 5 games to the Buffaloes in the final stage, who also had a 1 win advantage for having the best record in Pacific League. That season would be the last for ZOZO Marine Stadium public address announcer Emi Taniho. Originally, she was given a farewell ceremony on October 7, 2023, her supposed last home game, which included many former Marines players, but she was given extended duty, as the Marines were appearing to make a run for the Climax Series. That game was also her 2,100th game announcing. Her actual last day with the team was on December 20.

This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (March 2021)

Current roster

First squad Second squad

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches

Head coach/Infield defense coach
Pitching
Battery
Hitting
Base running/Outfield defense/Hitting
Base running/Outfield defense
  • 80 Akira Otsuka
Strategy/Battery
Training
  • 97 Daisuke Kikuchi
Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders
  • 39 Seiichiro Ohshita
  • 57 Ryusei Ogawa
  • 68 Yuta Kaneda

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches

Chief pitching coach
Pitching
Chief hitting coach
Battery
Infield defense/Base running
Outfield defense/Base running
Development defense, base running
Training
  • 98 Junpei Nemoto
Development Players
  • 120 Fuuki Tanaka (P)
  • 121 Seiya Dohi (P)
  • 122 Ayumu Ishikawa (P)
  • 123 Shota Hayamizu (IF)
  • 124 Takuro Furuya (P)
  • 125 Kirato Nagashimada (P)
  • 126 Ryosuke Murayama (C)
  • 127 Yuto Yoshikawa (P)
  • 130 Kaisei Kurokawa (IF)
  • 131 Tsuyoshi Sugano (OF)
  • 132 Akira Niho (P)
  • 133 Ryota Takeuchi (P)
  • 138 Ryo Yoshida (P)
Updated December 24, 2023 All NPB rosters


Notable former players

MLB players

Retired:

Honored number

26
Fans' number
Retired
2005

Managers

No. Years
in office
YR Managers G W L T Win% Pacific League
championships
Japan Series
championships
Playoff
berths
1 19501951 2 Yoshio Yuasa 230 135 85 10 .614 1 (1950) 1 (1950)
2 1952 1 Yoshio Yuasa
Kaoru Betto (1st)
120 75 45 0 .625
3 1953 1 Tadashi Wakabayashi 120 56 62 2 .475
4 19541959 6 Kaoru Betto (2nd) 834 467 341 26 .578
5 1960 1 Yukio Nishimoto 133 82 48 3 .631 1 (1960)
6 19611962 2 Mitsuo Uno 272 132 136 4 .493
7 19631965 3 Yasuji Hondo 440 203 227 10 .472
8 1966 1 Hitoshi Tamaru 134 61 69 4 .469
9 1967 1 Katsuki Tokura,
Watarui Nonin
137 61 69 7 .469
10 19681970 3 Watarui Nonin 399 216 164 19 .568 1 (1970)
11 1971 1 Watarui Nonin,
Keiji Ohsawa
130 80 46 4 .635
12 1972 1 Keiji Ohsawa 130 59 68 3 .465
13 19731978 6 Masaichi Kaneda (1st) 780 374 339 67 .525 1 (1974) 1 (1974) 2 (1974,1977)
14 19791981 3 Kazuhiro Yamauchi 390 182 171 37 .516 2 (1980,1981)
15 19821983 2 Kazuyoshi Yamamoto 260 97 145 18 .401
16 19841986 3 Kazuhisa Inao 390 185 175 30 .514
17 19871989 3 Michiyo Arito 390 153 213 24 .418
18 19901991 2 Masaichi Kaneda (2nd) 260 105 148 7 .415
19 19921994 3 Soroku Yagisawa 390 160 224 6 .417
20 1995 1 Bobby Valentine (1st) 130 69 58 3 .543
21 1996 1 Akira Ejiri 130 60 67 3 .472
22 19971998 2 Akihito Kondo 270 118 147 5 .445
23 19992003 5 Koji Yamamoto 690 324 352 14 .479
24 20042009 6 Bobby Valentine (2nd) 837 425 392 20 .520 1 (2005) 1 (2005) 2 (2005,2007)
25 20102012 3 Norifumi Nishimura 432 191 213 28 .472 1 (2010) 1 (2010)
26 20132017 5 Tsutomu Itoh 717 339 368 10 .473 3 times
(2013,2015,2016)
27 20182022 5 Tadahito Iguchi 692 324 338 30 .489 1 (2020,2021)
28 2023 1 Masato Yoshii 0 0 0 0 .000 0
Totals 71 seasons 23 managers 9,551 4,597 4,580 374 .501 5 times 4 times 11 times

Cheer dancers

The Marines' cheer dancing squad is known as M☆Splash!!. They were formed in 2004. Alongside the team's mascots Mar-kun, Rine-chan and Zu-chan, they entertain the crowd during Marines games, with 27 members.[6]

Mascots

Mar-kun (マーくん, Maa-kun) is a main mascot character of the Marines. With his girlfriend Rine-chan (リーンちゃん, Riin-chan) and his young brother Zu-chan (ズーちゃん, Zuu-chan), he entertains spectators at team games. Their name is a separateness of the team name. Originally Rine-chan wore a pink sports visor cap till the 2022 season when she wore the same baseball cap as her boyfriend while retaining the skirt, while Zu-chan wears the cap backwards and wears an apron instead of the jersey beginning 2022, before that he wore a shirt unless all three wear their team's special home uniforms.

Mysterious fish (謎の魚, Nazo-no-sakana) was a mascot character that was introduced in May 2017. He is a weird fish with legs.[7][8] He has collaborated with Hawaiian Airlines that former Marines' player Benny Agbayani works for, since 2018.[9] However, the person playing the mascot announced after the 2021 season that he would retire, which also meant the mascot was officially retired.[10]

Back when the team were known as the "Lotte Orions", their mascot was a character known simply as Bubble-Boy (バブル坊や, Bable-Boya) who only appeared as a logo.

In 2005, the Marines introduced a mascot named Cool-kun ( かっこいいくん, Kakkoi-kun), a penguin who was known for his acrobatic stunts and would often challenge mascots like Doala and B.B to acrobatic stunt contests at rival games. He also would be stuck up and rude at times, but he would burst to tears or show great emotion at the right time. Despite being friends with Mar-kun, they do not get along very well. In 2016, he was retired by the team.[11]

Minor League team

The Marines farm team plays in the Eastern League. The team was founded as the Mainichi Glitter Orions in 1950.

See also

References

  1. ^ "千葉ロッテマリーンズ 年度別成績 (1950-2023)".
  2. ^ a b How Every NPB Team got its Name (feat. The Yakyu Cosmopolitan), retrieved 2022-02-08
  3. ^ Why Rays to Montreal will Inevitably Fail - The Story of the "Gypsy Lotte" Orions, retrieved 2022-01-27
  4. ^ (Kyodo News)
  5. ^ "Nippon Professional Baseball 千葉ロッテマリーンズ 年度別成績 (1950-2021)". NPB.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  6. ^ "M☆Splash!!とは|千葉ロッテマリーンズ". 千葉ロッテマリーンズ オフィシャルサイト (in Japanese). Retrieved 2022-06-23.
  7. ^ "Please observe the new fish mascot in the Nippon Professional Baseball league". Cut4. 2017-05-31. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  8. ^ "Here's the NPB fish mascot casually pushing a suitcase with hands protruding from inside its mouth". Cut4. 2018-04-29. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  9. ^ "Creepy Evolving Japanese Baseball Mascot Reveals Its Fifth and Final Form". grape. 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  10. ^ "【12/13(月)更新】謎の魚引退|千葉ロッテマリーンズ". 千葉ロッテマリーンズ オフィシャルサイト (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-12-14.
  11. ^ "マスコットキャラクターCOOLについて|千葉ロッテマリーンズ". 千葉ロッテマリーンズ オフィシャルサイト (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-12-24.