Originally Posted by JCMElway
Well, how about it KI? Did I get him?
I was talking with my old Japanese Exchange Student, and I told him about this. He asked me "Have you guys taken the best player ever yet?"
I asked who, and he told me whom he was referring to. I checked, and the answer was no.
This is my last slugger, I swear!
Killericon is happy to select the actual home run king(Retired with 113 more than Hank Aaron)- Sadaharu Oh.
Oh's 868 home runs in Japan set an all-time pro baseball record. The son of a Chinese father and a Japanese mother, he had trouble gaining acceptance with Japanese fans after signing for a $60,000 bonus as a pitcher. Switched to first base, he couldn't hit the curveball until he took up samurai swordsmanship as a practice method; he adopted a foot-in-the-air stance similar to Mel Ott's, though he was unaware of Ott's existence. He was noted for taking 30 to 40 minutes of batting practice a day.
In 1965 Oh set the Japanese record of 55 HR in a 140-game season. His record of 54 HR for the revised 130-game schedule was tied by Randy Bass in 1986. He averaged 45 HR a year in winning 13 consecutive HR titles. On the dominating Yomiuri Giants, Oh batted third and Shigeo Nagashima hit clean-up as Japan's equivalent of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Oh won triple crowns in 1974 and 1975. He broke Hank Aaron's career HR mark in 1978, but Aaron, six years Oh's senior, out-homered him in contests held in 1974 and 1984. Oh became Yomiuri's manager upon retirement.
In high school, Oh made many appearances at Koshien and suffered several tough defeats. In 1957, Waseda Jitsugyo High School made it to the Spring Koshien Tournament with the second-year Oh as their ace pitcher. Right before the tournament started, Oh suffered serious blisters on two fingers of his pitching hand. The only way to heal the injury was with rest, but Oh refused to let his team down. Hiding his injury so as not to demoralize his team, Oh pitched the entire first game at Koshien and won. Oh's catcher noticed the bloodstained ball, but agreed to keep the injury secret from the rest of the team. The next day, Oh pitched another complete game and earned the victory, and again his catcher kept the injury a secret, but the blisters worsened. The pain and infection was unbearable, and now Oh faced the prospect of pitching two more games — on back-to-back days — for the championship. All the same, Oh pitched and won another complete game, enduring the worst pain of his life. After the game, on the eve of the Final, he had already lost all feeling in his fingertips, and was convinced he couldn't pitch in the Final.
That night, Oh was paid a surprise visit by his father, who had noticed the subtle injury while watching his son pitch on television. Oh's father had traveled 350 miles from Tokyo to bring him a Chinese herbal remedy. The miracle treatment worked, and Oh was able to just make it through his fourth complete game in four days, squeaking out a one-run victory. Oh had won the Championship, proved his fighting spirit, and earned fame and the respect of the nation.
In 1959, he signed his first professional contract as a pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants. However, Oh was a weak pitcher and soon switched to first base, working diligently with coach Hiroshi Arakawa to improve his hitting skills. This led the development of Oh's distinctive "flamingo" leg kick. It took the left-handed hitting Oh a few years to blossom, but he would go on to dominate baseball in Japan for the next twenty years.
Oh led his league in home runs fifteen times (and for thirteen consecutive seasons) and also drove in the most runs for thirteen seasons. More than just a power hitter, Oh was a five-time batting champion, and won the Japanese Central League's batting triple crown twice. With Sadaharu Oh at first base, the Yomiuri Giants won eleven championships, and Oh was named the Central League's Most Valuable Player nine times and to the All-Star team eighteen times.
Sadaharu Oh retired in 1980 at age 40, having amassed a Japanese baseball record of 2,786 hits, 2,170 RBIs, and a lifetime batting average of .301. Moreover, his record of 868 career home runs is 113 more than Hank Aaron's Major League Baseball home run record of 755.
His hitting exploits benefited from the fact that, for most of his career, he batted third in the Giants' lineup, with another very dangerous hitter, Shigeo Nagashima, batting fourth.
Oh was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.
Oh's legendary career has led baseball fans in many countries to wonder how well he could have done had he played in Major League Baseball. The differences between Major League baseball and Japanese baseball are easily noticeable—the parks in the Japanese leagues tended to be smaller, the season is shorter, and, typically, managers during Oh's career used a three-man starting rotation.
And hey, I hear the guy is a pretty good Manager, too.
C - Mike Piazza
1B - Mark Grace
2B - Eddie Collins
SS - Cal Ripken Jr.
3B - Harold "Pie" Traynor
LF - Sammy Sosa
CF - Ken Griffey Jr.
RF - Henry "Hank" Aaron
DH - Mark McGuire
SP - Lefty Grove
SP - Roy Halladay
SP - Phil Niekro
SP - David Wells
SP - Kenny Rogers
CL - Trevor Hoffman
RP - Hoyt Wilhem
RP - Billy Koch
OF - Vernon Wells
1B/2B - Carlos Delgado
1B - Sadaharu Oh