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Must-click link: the politics of the Japanese home run record

Sep 7, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT

Sadaharu Oh

We’ve talked a lot lately about Wladimir Balentien’s assault on the Japanese home run record. And in the course of that talk we’ve made passing mention of how previous challenges to the record — held by the great Sadaharu Oh — have been met with hostility and many, many intentional walks.

Today the Japan Times has an in-depth story about that. They talk to Randy Bass, who challenged the record in 1985. They talk about Tuffy Rhodes’ and Alex Cabrera’s run at 55 as well. The mark has been tied but not surpassed, and the story spends a lot of time talking about the hows and the whys of it all.  It’s a fascinating read about a fascinating, albeit at times frustrating, baseball culture.

  1. brums21 - Sep 7, 2013 at 12:05 PM


    • asimonetti88 - Sep 7, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      too bad for you. It was an interesting article.

  2. globalwork90 - Sep 7, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I quit working at shoprite and now I make $35h – $80h…how? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier. Heres what I do,go to this site home tab for more detail—>>>

  3. chc1908 - Sep 7, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    I like how Craig classifies this prejudice behavior as fascinating baseball culture. If a bunch of white people were doing this we know what his take would be.

    Also, could there be a worse registration process to comment. It’s truly embarrassing the you’re forced to set up that page first.

    • cohnjusack - Sep 7, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      Did you not read the part where he called it frustrating culture? It was literally the sentence directly after the one you quoted.

  4. paperlions - Sep 7, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    People deriding Puig for “not playing the game the right way” as a 22 yr old who learned to play baseball in the relative isolation of Cuban culture and played about 50 MiLB games before coming up to the majors should take note of the attitude the Japanese had toward ALL American players before they had access to watching MLB games. They though American’s were disrespectful, didn’t take the Japanese league seriously, and didn’t “play the game the right way” because their dedication to the game is far less serious than the Japanese approach. Now, most realize that is simply how American’s approach baseball, how they learn it, and their different baseball culture….of course, they probably still think American’s don’t “play the game the right way”, but at least they don’t consider it a sign of disrespect to the game itself.

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