Sadaharu Oh Was A Hit VS. MLB All-Stars Print E-mail
Written by Jim Rednour   
Saturday, 30 April 2011

The man known as “The Japanese Babe Ruth” played 110 exhibition games against major leaguers, either in October or November or during spring training.  He had 338 at bats and hit .260 with 88 walks for a .413 on-base percentage.  He also slugged 14 doubles and 25 homers and had a .524 slugging average; quite a dominant performance against All-Star caliber MLB pitchers.

Here’s What Major Leaguers Had To Say About Sadaharu Oh

Hammerin’ Hank Aaron defeated the Yomiuri Giant great 10-9 to take home the global “Home Run King” bragging rights, but later said the competition hadn't really proved anything.

"I was happy to come to Japan and engage in the contest with Oh,” Aaron said.  “But it doesn't necessarily prove that I'm a better hitter than Oh because it wasn’t under game conditions and we didn’t bat against pitchers who wanted to strike us out," Hank added, in the sportsmanlike manner for which he is famous.

The contest before 50,000 was based on the number of home runs either Aaron or Oh could rap out on 20 fair balls. They alternated with five fair-hit swings each. Foul balls didn't count. Aaron slammed 10 out of 18 fair balls for homers. Oh connected on nine out of 20.

Davey Johnson (the only teammate of Oh and Aaron): “Oh would have hit 700 homers in the US.  He would be a good hitter anywhere in the world.  Quality is still quality.”

Tom Seaver:  “He sure hit me.  He was a superb hitter who hit consistently and with power.  If he played in the U.S., he would’ve hit 20-25 home runs a year and been a lifetime .300 hitter.  He had tremendous discipline at the plate.  He knew the strike zone extremely well. He could pull your hard stuff, and you couldn’t fool him off-speed.”

Hal McRae:  “Oh had tremendous patience as a hitter. I don’t know how many he would have hit here - start with 20 (a year) at least.  He was a great All Star who would have been a Hall of Famer.”

Pete Rose:  “There’s no question in my mind Oh would have hit 800 home runs if he’d played here.  If he played in a park tailored to his swing, he’d have hit 35 homers a year and hit he’d hit .300, I’ll tell you that.”

Don Baylor:  “Oh could have played anywhere at any time.  If he played in Yankee Stadium, being the left handed pull hitter he is, I have no doubt he’d hit 40 home runs a year.”

Frank Howard:  “He would have hit 30-35 home runs a year and hit from .280 -.320 and drive in up to 120 runs a year.  The point being, he rates with the all-time stars of the game.”

Greg Luzinski:  “There’s no question he’d have been a great player in the United States, that he was a super talent.”

Brooks Robinson:  “He could have played in the big leagues with the best players in the world. Not as many home runs [as he hit in Japan], but he would have hit his share and hit for average.  He was just an outstanding hitter.”

Frank Robinson:  “I’m sure he would have hit 30 to 40 home runs per year [in the U.S.].  Thirty home runs a year adds up to over 600 home runs, and he’d do that if he played the same number of years here that he played there.”

Don Drysdale:  “He would have hit for average and power here.  In a park tailored to his swing, there’s no telling how many he would have hit. He was always ready for anything we threw him.  We were all impressed.” 





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