Eastern League (NPB)
The Eastern League (イースタン・リーグ) is one of the two minor leagues of Japanese professional baseball. The league is owned and managed by the Central League.
The league was created in 1955, and contained the minor league teams of the seven professional teams that had their homefields in the Eastern region of Japan. The original teams in the league were, the Yomiuri Giants, Kokutetsu Swallows, Taiyo Whales, Toei Flyers, Daiei Unions, Mainichi Orions, and Takahashi Unions.
The league was dissolved from 1956-1961, but was restarted in 1962 with five teams. The Seibu Lions minor league affiliate joined the league in 1979, and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles did the same in 2005.
The league contains the minor league affiliates of seven Japanese professional teams (minor league homefield shown in parentheses):
- Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (Tendō, Yamagata)
- Yomiuri Giants (Inagi, Tokyo)
- Saitama Seibu Lions (Tokorozawa, Saitama)
- Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (Kamagaya, Chiba)
- Chiba Lotte Marines (Saitama, Saitama)
- Yokohama BayStars (Yokosuka, Kanagawa)
- Tokyo Yakult Swallows (Toda, Saitama)
Most of the Japanese minor league teams carry the same name, and use the same uniforms as their parent team, with the exception of the the Yokohama BayStars (Shonan Searex), and Orix Buffaloes (Surpass) minor league teams. Saitama Seibu Lion's minor team name depends on the sponsored company, but they will use the professional team name in 2008 since the previous company's(Goodwill) naming right was void in 2007 as a result in illegal commercial movements.