Baseball,  Not the MLB

Not the MLB: Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions

Let’s get back to our Not the MLB, our global look at the coolest logos and uniforms in professional baseball that exist outside of Major League Baseball. Heading to Taiwan, we’ll be adding the Uni-President Lions to our far east division, joining the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Our league isn’t looking to be a champions league, we just want the coolest looking teams. So what makes the Lions cool?

Team: Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions (Chinese: Uni-Lions 統一獅)
Hometown: Tainan City, Taiwan
League: Chinese Professional Baseball League
Years: 1989 – present
Stadium: Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium
CPBL Championships: 10 (most recent: 2020)
Asian Series Champions: 0 (4 appearances)

Very few teams could get away with not just a dual sponsorship name, but also a dual hyphen name. The Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions are a fantastically awkwardly named team playing in Taiwan’s CPBL. The team, owned by Uni-President, is the only founding member of the CPBL that hasn’t seen a change in ownership. In fact they join the Brothers as the only two founding members of the league that are both still active and have operated continuously since 1990.

The Lions are the most successful club in the CPBL, and part of that success comes from partnerships and exhibition games against Japan’s Yomiuri Giants & the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately for the Lions, that international experience hasn’t translated to international success, as they’re 0-4 in the Asian Series. They’ve only made the finals twice, losing in 2008 to the NPBL’s Lions and in 2013 to the Canberra Cavalry.

While the CPBL has suffered through a handful of game-fixing scandals, however, our lions have kept their noses clean and weren’t named in any of those incidents.

The CPBL doesn’t get as much attention as the NPB or the KBO. And while the CPBL might be a step or two behind the KBO, I think the Korean league gets a lot of it’s love because of the gargantuan bat flips.

Getting to the brass tacks of what makes the Lions Not the MLB starts with their color scheme. And the color scheme starts with what the team describes as “castle town orange”, “salt mountain white” and “canon black”. The logo is one of the sleekest and most modern takes on a lion mascot in baseball, with the mane splitting the uprights on the U logo. The aggressive and great design extends to their uniform kit. Unlike many Asian teams, the Lions eschew the sponsor branding, and unlike Latin American teams, they keep their look clean and NASCAR-free. The overall brand blends a great, forward looking logo and color scheme with very understated and reserved jerseys. The 2020 set is built on a reversible jersey, white with black shoulders for home and black with orange shoulders for road, both on plain white pants.

There seems to be an additional 3rd kit being a pinstripe look with the team’s host city Tainan across the chest.  This is an almost foreign concept in Asian baseball. All three are A-tier uniforms. My mom used to have a policy that she liked jerseys based on how they looked with jeans.  And all three of these jerseys would look sharp as a shark’s tooth walking around a baseball card show.

The Uni-President 7-eleven Lions are our third entry in our Not the MLB baseball league.

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