Chiba Lotte Marines
|Chiba Lotte Marines|
|Ballpark||Chiba Marine Stadium (1992–present)|
|Nickname(s)||Kamome (鴎, gulls)|
|Pacific League pennants||5 (1950, 1960, 1970, 1974, 2005)|
|Japan Series championships||4 (1950, 1974, 2005, 2010)|
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 the Lotte conglomerate.
In 1958, the team was merged with the Daiei Unions and renamed the Daimai Orions. 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 Oh–Nagashima attack.
In 1978 the team returned to the Tokyo area, settling in Kawasaki.
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, 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, 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.
Notable former players
- Benny Agbayani
- Kevin Beirne
- Mike Diaz
- Jose Fernández
- Julio Franco
- Matt Franco
- Mel Hall
- Isao Harimoto
- Baek In-Chun
- Pete Incaviglia
- Hideki Irabu
- Masaaki Kitaru
- Masahide Kobayashi
- Satoru Komiyama (retired in 2009)
- Leon Lee (father of Derrek Lee)
- Leron Lee (uncle of Derrek Lee)
- Jim Lefebvre
- Darryl Motley
- Choji Murata (elected to Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005)
- Tomoya Satozaki (retired in 2014)
- Dan Serafini
- Lee Seung-yuop
- Naoyuki Shimizu (traded to Yokohama BayStars in 2009)
- Kim Tae-kyun
- Bobby Valentine (former manager, 1995, 2004–2009)
- Shunsuke Watanabe
- Julio Zuleta
- Alfredo Despaigne
- Hideki Irabu (1997–2002)
- Satoru Komiyama (2002)
- Masahide Kobayashi (2008–2009)
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2011–2012)
- Ryohei Tanaka (2009–2011)
- Yasuhiko Yabuta (2008–2009)
- 26 – This number is considered the number of the fan, the '26th player' on the bench. (NPB teams have 25 players on their active roster.)
- Kazuya Kamenashi (亀梨和也 Kamenashi Kazuya), also known as Kame and K² (his pen name)Talk:K², Japanese idol, singer-songwriter, actor, producer, television personality, radio host and member of the group KAT-TUN, was the honored guest, having #26 on his baseball uniform, to throw the first pitch at the Pacific League opening ceremony for the 2009 baseball season at a match in Chiba City featuring the team against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on July 19, 2009.