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Sadaharu Oh
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Baseball Player
    (May 20, 1940- )
    Born in Tokyo, Japan
    Birth name is Wang Chenchih
    Played for the Yomiuri Giants (1959-80)
    Set Japanese baseball career records of 2,786 hits, 2,170 RBIs and 868 home runs
    Managed the Yomiuri Giants (1984-88) and Fukoka Daiei Hawks (1995- )
    Inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame (1994)
    He is actually a citizen of the Republic of China (Taiwan) but does not speak Chinese or Taiwanese.
    He hit all those home runs using a compressed bat, which would have been illegal in Major League Baseball.
    On three occasions, his single season record of 55 home runs has been threatened by foreign-born hitters (Americans Randy Bass in 1985 and Karl ‘Tuffy' Rhodes in 2001; and Venezuelan Alex Cabrera in 2002). Each faced teams managed by Oh late in the season with the record on the line. Each time, Oh's pitchers were instructed to throw unhittable pitches to safeguard the record.
    Concerning the treatment of Bass in 1985, Commissioner Hiromori Kawashima said Oh's acts were ‘completely divorced from the essence of fair play.'
    ESPN placed his single season home-run record #2 on its list of ‘The 10 Phoniest Records in Sports.'
    In a high school tournament, he pitched four complete games despite suffering blisters so bad that he left blood stains on the ball.
    He led Japan's Central League in home runs 15 times, won five batting titles, won the Triple Crown twice and was named league MVP nine times.
    Because of his mixed heritage (Japanese mother and Chinese father) he was less popular with fans than teammate Shigeo Nagashima.
    Taiwan's president twice appointed him as a goodwill ambassador.
    He came back from surgery for stomach cancer to resume coaching the Fukoka Hawks (2006)
    He was name-checked in the Beastie Boys song ‘Hey Ladies.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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