Toru Mori (森 徹)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 209 lb.
Toru Mori once led the Central League in home runs and was a five-time All-Star.
Mori was born in Manchuria and moved to Hakodate, Hokkaido after World War II. He helped the Japanese national team win the 1955 Asian Championship, their first Asian Championship title. He debuted in Nippon Pro Baseball with the 1958 and hit .247/.282/.458 with 23 homers and 73 RBI. The free-swinging slugger (18 BB, 85 K) was second in the CL in homers (6 behind Shigeo Nagashima), RBI (19 behind Nagashima) and strikeouts (22 behind Hideshi Miyake) and 6th in slugging (between Miyake and Shigeru Fujio). He was picked to the Best Nine in the Central League, joining Kenjiro Tamiya and Wally Yonamine as the outfielders. He had a career year at age 23 in 1959 - .282/.332/.549, 31 HR, 87 RBI. He was among the CL leaders in average (5th, between Kazuhiko Sakazaki and Shinichi Eto), OBP (9th, between Kazuhiko Kondo and Yukihiko Machida), slugging (2nd, 62 points behind Nagashima), OPS (3rd behind Nagashima and Takeshi Kuwata), total bases (267, 2nd, 8 behind Nagashima), games played (130, tied for first with Eto, Yoshio Yoshida and Miyake), runs (66, tied for 6th with Sakazaki), at-bats (486, 3rd behind Miyake and Eto), hits (137, 3rd, trailing Nagashima and Eto), doubles (27, tied for third with Machida), homers (tied for first with Kuwata), RBI (1st, 3 more than Eto and Kuwata) and sacrifice flies (9, first by 3 over Hiromu Fujii). In the first 1959 NPB All-Star Game, Mori started in right field and went 0 for 4 as the CL was routed, 9-0. In the second game, he was 1 for 2 with a RBI after replacing Yonamine in a CL 6-4 win over the Pacific League. He joined Sakazaki and Akira Owada as the Best Nine picks in the CL outfield at year's end.
Toru hit .275/.342/.469 with 21 homers and 72 RBI in 1960. In the first 1960 NPB All-Star Game, he was 1 for 3 as the starting right fielder and #6 hitter for the CL. In the second game, he went 0 for 4 hitting 5th. He moved up to cleanup in the third game as Nagashima was bumped up to third. He was 1 for 3 with a walk and a RBI that game. He was 7th in the league in average (between Takao Sato and Tokuji Iida), 8th in OBP (between Miyake and Katsumi Fujimoto), 5th in slugging (between Michael Solomko and Fujimoto), 8th in OPS (between Kondo and Fujimoto), tied for 6th in runs (61, even with Miyake), 7th in hits (129, between Teruo Namiki and Jun Hakota), tied for 8th in doubles (22, even with Nagashgima), tied for second with Tatsuo Okitsu in homers (one shy of Fujimoto), second in RBI (4 behind Fujimoto), 9th in walks (45), 1st in double play grounders (17) and 3rd with 220 total bases (trailing only Nagashima and Sato). He joined Namiki and Toshio Naka as the CL's Best Nine outfield picks. After being picked his first three years, he faded, never making the Best Nine again.
Mori's batting line fell to .255/.298/.390 in 1961 and his home run total dropped to 13. He did tie Fujii for second in sacrifice flies (6, two behind Eto), tied for 9th in homers and was 6th in RBI (60, between Sadayuki Tokutake and Katsuya Morinaga). He was 1 for 8 with a RBI as the CL right fielder in the two 1961 NPB All-Star Games, hitting 3rd one game and 5th the other. Due to difficulty with manager Wataru Nonin, Chunichi let him go, not far removed from his home run title. He was quickly picked up by the Taiyo Whales. Mori hit .254/.287/.441 with 22 dingers, 67 RBI and only 21 walks in 1962. He was 5th in runs (62, between Nagashima and Namiki), 10th in hits (122, between Namiki and Tokutake), tied for 4th in homers (with Kuwata), 4th in RBI (behind Sadaharu Oh, Nagashima and Fujii) and 5th in slugging (between Eto and Namiki). He came off the bench and played right field in both 1962 NPB All-Star Games, replacing Morinaga in game 1 and Namiki in game 2 and going a combined 0-for-5.
At age 27, Mori produced at a .240/.282/.453 clip with 24 home runs and 68 RBI. in 1963. He made his last All-Star team. In the first of the 1963 NPB All-Star Games, he pinch-hit for Masaaki Koyama and drew a walk from Shoichi Ono. In game two, he replaced Kondo in right field late in the game and did not get an at-bat. In the third game, he started in right and hit 6th, going 0 for 2 before Okitsu pinch-hit for him to fall to 3-for-26 in All-Star competition. He finished the year 6th in the CL in dingers, 9th in RBI and tied with Okitsu for third in double play grounders (19). He hit .252/.29/.434 with 15 homers and only 18 walks in 130 games in 1964.
The veteran slumped to .191/.216/.457 with 13 HR in 162 AB and 3 walks in 87 games in 1965. The fading slugger was let go again and this time signed with the Tokyo Orions. He batted .213/.276/.402 with 17 home runs in 1966. He tied Mike Krsnich for 11th in the Pacific League in homers, the closest he came to the top 10 in a major department from 1964-1968. He hit .254/.279/.422 with 10 HR in a part-time role in 1967 and went 0 for 9 in 1968. He finished his career with a .251/.295/.450 batting line in 4,164 plate appearances over 1,177 games. He hit 189 home runs but drew only 228 walks. He scored 432 runs and drove home 585.
He managed the Tokyo entry in the short-lived Global League of 1969. He died of liver cancer only nine days after fellow 1950s-1960s CL outfielder Sakazaki died of cancer.