Ritsuo Horimoto

From BR Bullpen

Ritsuo Horimoto (堀本 律雄)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 165 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Ritsuo Horimoto had one of the greatest rookie seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball history but had a short career.

Horimoto played for Nihon Tsuun Urawa in the industrial leagues after college. He won gold as a member of the Japanese national team in the 1959 Asian Championship. As a rookie with the Yomiuri Giants in 1960, he went 29-18 with a 2.00 ERA in 69 games (35 starts) and also hit .219 with two home runs. He finished second in the Central League in ERA (.25 shy of Noboru Akiyama), led in wins (three over Kiyoshi Oishi), was third in losses (after Masaichi Kaneda and Masaaki Koyama), pitched the most games (8 more than Midori Ishikawa), was 5th in starts (between Oishi and Koyama), led in complete games (26, 3 more than Koyama), tied for 6th in shutouts (3), led in innings pitched (364 2/3, 2 2/3 ahead of Koyama) and was 4th with 210 strikeouts (between Oishi and Gentaro Shimada). He broke Victor Starffin's 21-year-old team record for games pitched and the record stood for 45 more years until Brian Sikorski topped it. He also was the most recent Yomiuri hurler to win 29 games, doing so two years after Motoshi Fujita had. He won both the CL Rookie of the Year and the Sawamura Award as the top pitcher in either of Japan's top two leagues.

After that heavy workload as a rookie, Ritsuo slumped to 11-12, 3.11 in 1961. He did make his only All-Star team. In 1961 NPB All-Star Game 2, he relieved Kaneda with a 3-2 deficit to open the 6th and allowed one run in three innings before giving way to Hiroshi Gondo. The CL lost to the Pacific League by a 4-2 margin. He did finish 8th in the CL with 7 complete games, tied for 8th with two shutouts and tied Takashi Suzuki for 7th with 73 walks. In the 1961 Japan Series, his lone Japan Series, he was 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 24 1/3 IP as Yomiuri topped the Nankai Hawks in six games. He won game 2 to even the Series, went the distance to win game 4 and started game 6 before Minoru Nakamura won it in the 10th.

Horimoto had a 7-6, 2.81 campaign in 1962 and was traded to the Daimai Orions for Toshio Yanagida. He was 15-14 with a 3.31 ERA in 1963. He made his final leaderboards, tying Osamu Kubota for 9th in the PL in wins and tying Kazuhisa Inao for 6th in walks (70). The Orions became the Tokyo Orions in 1964 and Horimoto struggled (1-9, 5.01). He allowed 5 runs in 15 innings in 1965 and ended his career at age 30.

He had gone 63-59 with a 2.82 ERA in 201 games (116 starts). In 917 1/3 IP, he had allowed 794 hits and 293 walks while striking out 515.

Horimoto later coached for the Taiyo Whales (1977-1978, 1991-1992), Nippon Ham Fighters (1993-1994) and President Lions (1997). He also worked as a TV and radio baseball commentator.