Saturday, October 27, 2018

RIP Masao Morishita

Former Nankai Hawk infielder Masao Morishita passed away this past week at age 85.  Morishita joined the Hawks in 1952 at age 18 after dropping out of high school and playing for Nankai's corporate league team.  He spent the next 15 years with them, retiring after the 1966 season.  He led the Pacific League in stolen bases in 1955 with 59 and stole 315 over his career, good enough for 27th on the all time list.  He made Best 9 teams in 1954 and 1961 and made the All Star team in 1954, 1956, 1957 and 1960.  He played in six Nippon Series with the Hawks (1955, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1965 and 1966), winning championships in 1959 and 1964.  He won the "Fighting Spirit" award for the 1965 Series.  After retirement he coached for the Hawks (1967-68), the Dragons (1969-77), the Whales (1978-80) and the Hawks again (1986).  He also first coached and then managed the Brothers Elephant in the CPBL in Taiwan in 1991-92 - I think he was the first Japanese manager in the CPBL.

He also appears to have gone by Nobushige for a given name as his Baseball-Reference entry is under that name.

Morishita had a number of menko cards during his career as well as a card in the 1967 Kabaya-Leaf set.  I think he only has a couple modern cards from the 2006 BBM Nostalgic Baseball, 2008 BBM Hawks 70th Anniversary and 2012 Epoch JPBA History Of Best Nine sets.  Here's the cards I have of him:

1967 Kabaya-Leaf #314

2006 BBM Nostalgic Baseball #050

2008 BBM Hawks 70th Anniversary #14
He also had a card in the 1992 CPBL set (#50).  I don't have this card but I couldn't resist downloading the image of it from the list of Moriwaki's cards:

H/T NPB on Reddit's tweet of his Yahoo! obituary.

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