Japan was able to take a breather Wednesday after Tuesday’s Murakami-mania, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few comments by Japan’s all-time home run king, Sadaharu Oh.
There were just four games, none involving Yakult or Japan’s new home run god, but Roki Sasaki pitched for the first time in two weeks, and I’ve got a little present for his fans, the Seibu Lions and SoftBank Hawks continued their struggle for Pacific League supremacy, while two of the three teams now fighting over the Central League’s final playoff spot, the Hanshin Tigers and Hiroshima Carp slugged it out.
Oh amazed by Murakami
Sadaharu Oh finished with 868 career home runs and who produced far more than his share of the very best seasons in Japanese pro baseball history, turned pro out of high school, where he’d been a slugging side-armed pitcher, got off to a slow start and feared being run out of pro baseball before he refined a style that eliminated a hitch in his swing.
“This is just his fifth season,” said Oh of Munetaka Murakami. “I think it’s simply amazing that a fifth-year pro can hit the ball that hard.”
Oh himself made his home run breakthrough when he hit 38 as a 22-year-old in 1962, his fourth pro season. In 1963, he hit 40, the same year Katsuya Nomura hit 52 in the PL for the Hawks. Oh then set his record of 55 in 1964.
“It’s a matter of hitting the ball when you are able to do so,” Oh said. “I suspect Murakami thinks that way, too. Everybody thinks (his hitting this many) is just amazing, but that in itself is not really so special. He’s been doing this all year, so it’s no wonder to him. And because it’s not a mystery, I suspect he can just keep on hitting one after another. If you’re worked up or overawed, you can’t do it.”
Continue reading NPB news: Sept. 14, 2022