My plan is to do the current teams in alphabetical order then hit the defunct teams. I hope to do this relatively quickly but I fear this will drag out for a year or so like so many of my previous projects have.
First up is the Chiba Lotte Marines. The Marines entered professional baseball in Japan in 1950 as the Mainichi Orions. They played their home games in Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo. Following the 1957 season, the Orions and the Daiei Unions merged to become the Daimai Orions. They moved into a new ballpark (Tokyo Stadium) in 1962 and the team was renamed the Tokyo Orions before the 1964 season. After 1968, Lotte bought the team and renamed them the Lotte Orions. Tokyo Stadium went bankrupt in the early 70's which prompted an existential crisis for the team that nearly resulted in them merging with the Toei Flyers. The team moved to Sendai for a number of year, then back to Kanto, replacing the Whales in Kawasaki when Taiyo moved to Yokohama in 1978. The team moved from Kawasaki to Chiba in time for the 1992 season and was renamed again the Chiba Lotte Marines.
The selection of uniforms in BBM's Memories of Uniform for the Marines was pretty weak. There are no cards for the pre-Lotte team and only one card showing a Lotte Orion uniform (the away uniform used from 1973 - 1991). Also included were the away uniform from 1992-1994 and the home uniform from 1995 to the present. The other uniforms were an alternate uniform used from 2005-07 and two throwback uniforms - the 1973-1991 Lotte home uniform used in 2008 and the 1992-94 Marines home uniform used in 2011.
The Mainichi home uniforms were white with pinstripes and an old English style "M" on the left breast. The only real change in the eight years they used this uniform is that there was a red, white and blue patch that appeared on the left sleeve in 1951 and 1952 that celebrated the team's victory in the first Nippon Series in 1950.
|2006 BBM Nostalgic Baesball #085|
The Mainichi away uniform changed a couple of times however. The initial away uniform in 1950 was gray with "Mainichi" across the front and a star patch on the left sleeve. This is the best shot of it that I could find in the cards I have:
|1950 JBR2 Shosei Go|
They changed the text on the front to say "Orions" in the 1951-55 version of the away uniform. Like the home uniform, the away uniform featured a patch for the 1950 Nippon Series championship in 1951 and 1952, which can be seen in this shot:
|2009 BBM Legend Players #087 (Kaoru Betto)|
|2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 #040|
|1958 JCM 54 "Who Am I?" Menko (Shoichi Ono)|
|1958 JCM 68 (Kihachi Enomoto)|
|2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 #094|
|2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 #214|
|2006 BBM Nostalgic Stars #092|
|2009 Epoch All Japan Baseball Foundation 15th Anniversary #62|
|2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 #249|
|2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 #369|
|2007 BBM Draft Story #001|
The uniforms used during the first four years of the Lotte era were very similar to those of the final two Tokyo Orions seasons. The text on the front of the uniforms remained red and the home uniform remained pinstripe free. The biggest changes were that both the home and away uniforms now said "Lotte" across the front (with "Orions" on the left sleeve) and the numbers were removed from the front of the uniform. The home and away uniforms were essentially identical except for the color. The hat logo changed to an interlocking "L" and "O" design.
|2002 BBM All Time Heroes #185|
|2002 BBM All Time Heroes #227|
1973 brought the final Lotte Orions uniform - a design used until 1992. Again the home and away uniforms were virtually identical except for color. The player's name was added to the back of the uniform at this time. Here's the home uniform (the away uniform was in the set):
|1991 BBM #192|
|1994 BBM #236|
The home uniform the Marines adopted in 1995 is the same one being used today. It's very similar to the original Mainichi uniform, white with pinstripes and an "M" in black on the left breast. The biggest change is the inclusion of the uniform number on the the front of the jersey on the right side. (This card was included in the set). The away uniform also did away with the pink text and simply said "Marines" on the front with the number on the left side.
|1997 BBM #208|
|2000 BBM Late Series #568|
|2005 BBM Marines #M030|
|2010 BBM 2nd Version #708|
|2003 BBM 2nd Version #718|
|2011 BBM Marines 20th Anniversary #86|
|2008 BBM 2nd Version #642|
|2009 BBM 2nd Version #602|
|2010 BBM 2nd Version #709|