Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Seibu Lions pitching coach Shinji Mori dead at 42

Saitama Seibu Lions pitching coach Shinji Mori passed away with multiple organ failures on Wednesday, June 28. He was 42 years old. Mori left the team on June 27 and stayed in Fukuoka feeling sickness.

Mori became the Lions' ichi-gun pitching coach in May of 2016. He previously served as a ni-gun pitching coach from 2014-2016.

As a player, Mori was a second-round draft pick of the Lions in 1996 out of an industrial league. He would be a middle reliever and closer from 1997-2005 for the Lions. His best season in NPB came from 2000, where he had a 1.83 ERA and 0.903 WHIP as well as 23 saves. Mori was also a member of the 1997, 1998 and 2002 Lions teams that won the Pacific League pennant. He also won the 2004 Japan Series for his only championship as a player.

Mori was posted to the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays after 2005 and was supposed to compete for a reliever role. He was one of the first pickups of then-General Manager Andrew Friedman, now working with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His career would never be the same, as he suffered a torn labrum and would eventually be released.

The last playing years had Mori being a player-manager with the Ishikawa Million Stars of the BC Challenge Independent League from 2010-2014.

With the recent loss of Tamotsu Nagai, we've lost two of our Lions family members to end the month of June.

Mori's legacy can hopefully be reflective of how Yusei Kikuchi has been transformed. When Mori was promoted to the ichi-gun staff, Kikuchi became more efficient and strong with his location, looking like an ace.  If Kikuchi can be the next great Lion for years to come, credit it to Mori.

Thoughts and prayers go to the team, as well as Mori's family and friends. May he R.I.P.


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