Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hichori Morimoto

Lions outfielder Hichori Morimoto is yet another player who is hanging up his shoes now that the 2015 season is over.  Morimoto was drafted out of high school in the fourth round of the 1998 draft by the Nippon Ham Fighters (who at the time still played in Tokyo).  He didn't make his debut with the top team until 2000 but didn't start spending a lot of time with the ichi-gun squad until 2001.  He became a regular a few years later.  He played in three Nippon Series for the Fighters - 2006, 2007 and 2009 - won an "Outstanding Player" award in the 2006 Series.  He made the All Star team three times (2006-08), made the Best 9 team once (2007) and won three Golden Glove awards (2006-08).

He left the Fighters for the Baystars as a free agent after the 2010 season.  He spent three seasons in Yokohama but didn't play a great deal due to injuries.  He was released following the 2013 season and signed with Seibu.  While he got into a decent amount of games in 2014, he spent the entire 2015 season (other than his retirement game) with the farm team.

2002 BBM 2nd Version #799

2003 BBM Fighters #072

2006 BBM Nippon Series #S26

2008 BBM All Stars #A60

2009 BBM Fighters #F88

2009 Calbee #019

2011 BBM 1st Version #315

2013 Front Runner Baystars Rookies & Young Stars #03

2014 Lions Fanclub Silver Version #0
Morimoto's BBM rookie card is #434 which I don't have (obviously - if I had it, I'd show it here).

Morimoto is well known for a number of stunts he's done over the years - a few of which have made it on to baseball cards.  There was the time he dressed up as Piccolo from "Dragon Ball" at one of the 2006 All Star games:

2007 BBM 1st Version #491
Then there's whatever this is:

2007 BBM 2nd Version #741
 Perhaps my favorite, though, did not make a baseball card that I know of.  He decided to appear in a costume at the post-season awards ceremony in 2007 when he received one of his Golden Gloves.  See if you can pick him out in this photo:

Yep, "Thriller"-era Michael Jackson.

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