In my effort to visit every NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) stadium and official team store, I headed to Nagoya prefecture to visit Nagoya Dome and the official Chunichi Dragons team store (or Chunichi Dragons Nagoya Site Good Shop).
For those not familiar with the Chunichi Dragons, the team was established back in 1936 and were known as Nagoya-gun (Nagoya Club) and later Sangyo-gun until a decade later where they were known as Chubu Nippon when the team was acquired by the newspaper Chunichi Shimbun and then in 1947 as the Chubu Nippon Dragons. By 1948, the group was renamed to Chunichi Dragons (1948-1950) and then another name change to Nagoya Dragons (1951-1953). But by 1954, the group had settled with the name Chunichi Dragons.
The team’s uniforms were inspired by the Brooklyn Dodgers, sporting the same blue and white colors and even had the same “D” lettering on their jerseys and caps in the ’80s and ’90s (Note: There is a misconception that another Central League team, Hiroshima Carp was inspired by Cincinatti Red’s “C” lettering for their uniform and caps but the Carp were actually inspired by the University of Chicago team which toured Japan in 1912).
But the team had now moved to darker blue colors and gray (which is more matching the colors of the New York Yankees, than the Los Angeles Dodgers blue and white) with a CD. But recently, the team has returned back to their blue colors similar to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
And the group was famously known for their 15-year-old phenom pitcher Michio Nishizawa, who pitched 28 complete innings (311 pitches) and also had a no-hitter in 1942. But when he suffered injuries during World War II, upon his return to baseball, he switched to first base and then outfield where he became known for his hitting and achieving the league record in 1950 with 46 home runs.
Their best years were no doubt 1954 and 2007 when the team won the Japan series (the team reached the Japan series in 2004 and 2006 but lost).
Upon going into the store, you will notice the team mascot, a koala named Doala and two dragons, Shaolon (blue) and Paolon (pink). You will notice other characters such as Doraemon, Betty Boop and other characters but they are customary at other NPB team sites.
If you are going to Nagoya Dome, the team store is right across on the second floor. If you stay within floor level, which is more of a general NPB store for all teams (which I will write about in another blog post).
But the store is comparable to the size of many other NPB stores but what I enjoyed about my visit is that the customer service was great and they had me partake in a raffle which I won an 80th anniversary baseball.
Overall, for fans of the Chunichi Dragons, the official Chunichi Dragons Nagoya Site Goods Shop is worth visiting if you are a fan of the team or a follower of NPB.