The Ciba Lotte Marines are a Japanese professional baseball team and belong to the Pacific League. Their home stadium is ZOZO Marine Stadium in Mihama-ku, Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, and their parent company is Lotte Holdings Co.,Ltd.
The team was founded in 1950 as ‘the Mainichi Orions’, whose parent company was Mainichi Newspapers Co.,Ltd. They were affiliated with Japan Baseball Federation and joined the Pacific League. The Mainichi Orions won the league championship in their first year. They also won an overwhelming victory over the Shochiku Robins with a record of five wins and two losses in the Japan Series.
After the merger of their parent company and the company’s withdrawal from the management of the team, the team name was changed to ‘the Mainichi Daiei Orions and then to ‘the Tokyo Orions. In 1964, Lotte became a sponsor for the Tokyo Orions. With this situation, the team name was changed to the Lotte Orions. And then, in 1991 when their home area in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture became the one in Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, the team name was changed to the current name, or ‘ the Chiba Lotte Marines.
The Marines have won five Pacific League championships, four Japan Series titles, and one Asia Series title. What is the most impressive event in the team’s history is the 2005 season which was the second season of Manager Bobby Valentine, who had led some MLB teams, such as the Texas Rangers, the New York Mets, and Boston Red Sox.
In this year, 2005, the Ciba Lotte Marines made a great achievement. They won the league championship and the Japan Series title for the first time in 31 years, and also beat the Mitsubosi Lions (current Samsung Lions),a Korean team, by 5-3 in the first Asian Series
One of the leading players who were active in the Lotte is Julio Franco from Dominican Republic. Franco won the Silver Slugger Award for four consecutive years, and in the 1991 season and won the batting title with a hitting average.341 during his stay in the Texas Rangers. He played an active role as not only a leading player but also captain of the Marines in 1995 and 1998.
Hideki Irabu is the other leading player. Drafted first in 1987, he joined the Lotte Orions. Irabu, who was one of the three leading starting pitchers, won the most wins title, Strike Outs Title and Earned Run Average Title in his career of the team.
In 1997, Irabu moved to the New York Yankees as the first Japanese baseball player. In his late career years, he made a great contribution to the Hanshin Tigers and his team won the league championship for the first time in 18 years.