NPB Throwback Uniforms
Posted by simon c on 2008 June 12日 Thursday
NPB has caught onto the the throwback uniform craze in recent years, so without further ado here are some unis that made an appearance on the field.
Firstly the Hawks this season celebrated their 20th season since the franchise relocated to the island of Kyushu and the 70th season since its founding with these uniforms. The Nankai Hawks (1947-1988 ) uniform on the left looks sharp, and the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (1989-2004) look alright but is way too recent to feel any sort of nostalgia (Kenji Johjima was wearing that exact Daiei outfit before leaving for Seattle). For a more nostalgic look, the Hawks should’ve chosen the early Daiei look complete with the “hawk helmet” (eyes painted on the side and everything). Still, both uniforms are much sharper than the current “slow-pitch” Softbank uniforms.
Below are the Giants throwbacks (home and away) that they wore last season as part of their franchise’s 5000th win celebration. The uniforms are from their absolutely dominant V9 era (1965-73) when they captured 9 straight Central League pennants, and captured the hearts of almost everyone in Japan as there were few entertainment options available back in the day and Giants games were broadcast every night.
In 2006, the Hanshin Tigers wore these great throwback uniforms from the 80’s, which includes the only time they’ve captured the Japan Series in 1985. These were worn in interleague games, but they proved to be so popular that the team has subsequently adopted the home uniform as regular home unis (great move!)
Saitama Seibu Lions also reprised their golden era in the 80’s with the blue throwback away uniforms on the right last season which were worn for some special games. Since the team team had a dynasty back then, the all blue look doesn’t evoke possible gaggage, but great memories instead.
The Lions went even further back into their history with the Nishitetsu Lions (1951-72) throwback unis this season. They look nice, except for the unnecessary Nike logo (like in the throwbacks above), but since the these uniforms were worn before my time, it doesn’t do much for me other than the fact that throwbacks are almost always better than lame special edition summer/sunday/interleague uniforms designed by some famous designer (which I will get to in a future post).
Chiba Lotte Marines went throwback this year too with these Lotte Orions (1969-91) uniforms from back in their Kawasaki days which you can see here with Bobby Valentine. Apparently the Lotte Giants in Korea has the exact same throwback uniforms which they wear on occasion. Since both teams are owned by the same Korean-Japanese parent company, there’s a branding effort there (even though the Korean team is supposedly named after the Yomiuri Giants).
Here’s a great shot from a ceremonial first pitch in Yokohama between the Marines and BayStars interleague game. The oldtimer pitcher is sporting a “that’s gotta be the 70’s” orange-and-green Taiyo Whales uniform! (And the oldtimer batter in the Lotte uni above.)
Next time, some selection of non-throwback special uniforms.
Edit: As reported earlier, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows wore powder blue uniforms from their Yakult Atoms (that’ll be the Mighty Atom aka Astro Boy!) during the Golden Week holidays in May.