There was an interesting post on Twitter Saturday, which just begged for verification. It questioned whether Munetaka Murakami should be considered Japan’s best young home run hitter ever, since the conditions in which the Swallows star has hit his home runs are quite different from those faced by Sadaharu Oh and Hideki Matsui.
Conditions are always in flux, offhand I would agree with this post about Oh, the early part of Matsui’s career was a fairly normal era for home run production. The perception that Matsui hit in a “mini dead-ball era” is created by the switch to Mizuno’s rabbit ball by the Giants, Dragons and BayStars toward the end of his time in Japan.
The same thing probably led Robert Whiting to recently declare Wladimir Balentien’s 60 home runs to have taken place with a lively ball in place. The ball wasn’t particularly lively that year, but it was normal compared to the soft ball used the previous two seasons.Continue reading Oh, Matsui and Murakami