Former Mexican League star Andres Mora dies at 60
Former O's and Indians outfielder was one of Mexico's greatest sluggers
Andres Mora could have been the greatest home run hitter Mexico had ever known.
He will always be remembered as one of the all-time greats.
"He was one of the strongest Mexican hitters, and one of the most powerful men I have ever known," said Carlos Lopez, Mora's teammate in Baltimore, who is also from Mexico. "But he was much more than that. He was one of my close friends and an excellent person. He was a winner for Mexico. We are all very sad to hear the news of what happened."
Mora, a Mexican League star who played in the outfield for three seasons with the Orioles from 1976 to 1978 and one season in Cleveland in 1980, died last week from pneumonia. He was 60.
"Andres was so strong that he could hit the ball with one hand and it was gone," said Lopez, an outfielder who roomed with Mora in 1978. "He was a very tough man to get out and a good defensive player, too. He didn't run too fast, but he made all of the plays in the outfield."
Born in Río Bravo Coahuila, Mexico, Mora played in his home country from 1972 to 1997 and hit 419 home runs during that span, still the fourth-most in Mexican League history. He finished his career with a .314 batting average with 324 doubles, 32 triples and 1,498 RBIs in 2,104 games in Mexico. He hit also hit .223 with 27 home runs and 83 RBIs in 235 Major League games. Including the homers he hit in the Mexican Winter League, Mora's home run total is more than 600.
Mora was elected to the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
There are some that believe he would be the country's home run king had he not spent parts of four years in the Major Leagues. Mora signed with Montreal in 1973 at 17 and eventually made his big league debut on April 13, 1976 with the Orioles.
"I have a lot of respect for Mexico's home run hitters, especially Hector Espino, who was like our Babe Ruth, but Andres had more power than all of them," Lopez said. "He would have had the most ever and that's for sure. He was like 20 years old in the big leagues and he signed really young. That tells you how good he was."
Mora did not return to the United States from Mexico for the 1979 season. He didn't play in the Major Leagues again after 1980 and entered his prime years as a slugger in Mexico. He later served as a coach and a manager in the country.
"He would have been the home run leader here," said Tomas Herrera, a scout for the Phillies in Mexico. "I remember him as a kid. He was a good player, no doubt about it."
Mora dealt with health issues, including diabetes, later in life.
"I really miss him," Lopez said. "We called him El Caballo because of his strength. I don't think anybody from Mexico could hit like him. Not Vinny Castilla, not anyone. He was the most powerful Mexican hitter ever."