Shinji Mori

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Shinji Mori (森 慎二)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Shinji Mori was drafted by the Seibu Lions in the second round of the 1996 NPB draft. Mori debuted with Seibu in 1997, going 6-2 with 9 saves, a 3.28 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings. A year later, Shinji went 8-8 with five saves and a 3.81 ERA as a starter-reliever and made his first Pacific League All-Star team. In 1999, the right-handed thrower fell to 5-8, 4.61 and led the PL with 10 wild pitches. He did strike out 128 in 113 1/3 innings that year.

In 2000, the Seibu pitcher became the closer and did a fine job with a 5-6, 23 Sv, 1.83 season. He whiffed 101 in 78 2/3 innings, walking 20 and allowing 51 hits and he again was an All-Star. At age 26, he would go 5-4 with one save and a 3.91 ERA in 2001, with 52 K in 46 innings.

2002 and 2003 both earned Mori the Middle Reliever of the Year Award. In the former season, he went 6-7 with one save and a 2.07 ERA, striking out 102 in 78 1/3 innings, followed by a 7-3, 2 Sv, 2.31 campaign with 99 K and 22 BB in 70 IP. He made his third and fourth All-Star teams and led the PL with 71 appearances in '02.

In 2004, Shinji was 0-4 with four saves and a 4.59 ERA and his control turned sour, with 38 free passes in 49 innings. In 2005, he cut his walks back to 19 in 49 IP and fanned 60, but his line was 2-2 with five saves and a 4.22 ERA. Overall, he was 44-44 with 50 saves and a 3.39 ERA in 431 outings. He had struck out 755 and walked 273, allowing 588 hits in 653 innings.

Mori requested to be posted and the Lions, no longer seeing him as a top reliever, granted his request. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays won his rights for $1,000,000. He signed for a two-year, $1.3 million contract. Before he could pitch for them, though, Mori suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in a spring training minor league game on March 21, 2006.

Mori was released by Tampa Bay in January of 2007 to make room on the 40-man roster for Scott Dohmann, then was re-signed to a minor league deal right after. The team released him in 2007, having never pitched for the Devil Rays.

Mori died suddenly of organ failure in Fukuoka, Japan at the age of only 42 in 2017. At the time of his death he was the pitching coach for the Seibu Lions.

Source: by Gary Garland

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