Hichori Morimoto held a press conference at the Seibu Lions' offices in Tokorozawa, Saitama on September 21 to announce his decision to retire after the season.
A few notes taken from various sources:
- He had a difficult childhood because of a hair loss disorder. Baseball turned his life around and gave him confidence. It is the most important thing in his life.
- He thinks baseball is great sport because players are allowed to make a fair number of mistakes and fans still cheer.
- Shinjo had a big influence on his career.
- He started thinking now might be the time to retire after he struggled and failed to secure a spot on the active roster in August.
- He was healthy this year and was trying his best, but still could not perform to his expectations.
- He has lots of regrets, like not practicing more when he was younger, but is overall satisfied with how he was able to approach the game and have fun over the last few years.
- He currently has no plans for what comes next.
- Always the entertainer: he said that he wanted to bring eye drops to the press conference because he thought it might make for better photos if he cried, but he forgot the eye drops.
- Memorable moments: winning a championship with Nippon Ham, winning an opening day game with Yokohama, hearing the cheering fans after he collected his first hit with Seibu.
[UPDATE 9/27 @ 11:03pm]
The Lions added Morimoto to the active roster on September 27. He was called into the Rakuten game as a defensive replacement in right in the top of the 8th inning. He grounded out to third with runners on first and second and two out in the bottom of the 8th. There was a retirement ceremony after the game. Naoto Watanabe, Kazuya Fujita, and former Nippon Ham teammate Atsunori Inaba presented him with flowers. He was tossed into the air by teammates ten times.
Source: Nikkan Spots 9/27/2015
[UPDATE 9/28 @ 5:40pm]
Morimoto was taken off the active roster on September 28.
The Pacific League's Youtube videos from the game:
Morimoto's last at bat.
Flowers and messages from current and past teammates.
Teammates tossing Morimoto into the air.
Seibu also posted a YouTube video of parts of his press conference:
- Best Nine: Outfield: 2007
- Golden Glove: 2006-2008
- Sapporo Dome MVP: 2006
- All-Star Outstanding Player: Game 2 2006, Game 2 2007
- All-Star Games: 2006-2008
- Nippon Series Outstanding Player: 2006