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Tuesday, September 04, 2001

NATIONAL POST ONLINE Former major-leaguer named Tuffy chases the great Oh

Tuffy Rhodes is only six homers shy of the Japanese record of 55 set by Sadaharu Oh in 1964. I’m shocked!

Jim Furtado Posted: September 04, 2001 at 02:16 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark

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   1. Bob T Posted: September 04, 2001 at 06:03 PM (#72366)
The record will be very tough to break as the last time a gaijin approached the record, Randy Bass, he was walked every time up after he got to #54.

Not only is Rhodes going after the record, but so is Seibu Lions slugger Alex Cabrera, or as he is called in Japan, A-Cab.

Rhodes may have an advantage down the stretch as teams may not be able to walk him just out of spite as his team, the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes is engaged in an exciting three-team pennant race for the Pacific League title with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (managed by Oh) and the Seibu Lions.

The survivor of the Pacific League race will likely face the Yakult Swallows in the Japan Series.
   2. RichRifkin Posted: September 04, 2001 at 08:37 PM (#72367)
I don't know if the Japanese, to this day, consider Oh a Japanese. He is not ethnically Japanese, and I understand that he was restricted, like all Koreans are, from certain privileges of citizenship in Japan

So if Sadaharu Oh was a Gaijan, what's wrong with Tuffy Rhodes as the home run king of Japan?
   3. The Original Gary Posted: September 04, 2001 at 09:04 PM (#72368)
Tuffy Rhodes. Pencil him in as Duquette's top off-season pickup.
   4. Bob T Posted: September 04, 2001 at 09:37 PM (#72369)
Oh is actually Chinese, but he was born in Japan, so he didn't count toward a team's limit of "gaijin". The Giants of his heyday were revered because a) they won a lot and b) they didn't use "gaijin."

Oh is probably the second most revered player in Japan. The #1 hero is Giants manager Shigeo Nagashima. The two main entrances to the Tokyo Dome are called the "Nagashima Gate" and the "Oh Gate"
   5. Robert Dudek Posted: September 04, 2001 at 10:31 PM (#72370)
I'm not sure if this applies to baseball players, but I'm pretty sure that top-division foreign-norn sumo wrestlers have to take Japanese citizenship (several Hawaiians have been very successful in this sport).
   6. Bob T Posted: September 04, 2001 at 11:24 PM (#72371)
The gaijin in Japanese baseball are there strictly to play ball. I don't think any would seek or be offered Japanese citizenship.

Sumo has a lot of religious underpinnings so that may be a difference. I think that the Americans who have competed in top-level have also learned Japanese.
   7. Bob T Posted: September 05, 2001 at 04:11 PM (#72374)
For anyone caring to follow this home run chase, Rhodes hit homer #50 Thursday (in Japan) making him the second foreign born player to reach 50 (Randy Bass being the other).

Rhodes' team, the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes are now in a tie for first with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks at 65-55, although the Buffaloes have two ties and the Hawks only one. Ties don't count in winning percentage and aren't replayed in the Pacific League. (Unless the rule changed this year). The Seibu Lions are at 66-56 and .001 back.

The Buffaloes have 18 games remaining so if there is going to be a concerted effort to walk him every time up, it could potentially last for over a week's worth of games that could determine the pennant.

And if anyone is thinking that Rhodes plays in a bandbox I would say that the Osaka Dome, Rhodes' home park is one of the toughest places to hit in Japan. It has deep alleys and very weird lighting that makes for poor visibility. My general impression was that the whole place was blue.

This is sort of like the 1915 FL race.
   8. The Original Gary Posted: September 05, 2001 at 06:22 PM (#72376)
Rob, thank you for dredging up that repressed memory. For an encore, let's explore some high school humiliation.
   9. rlc Posted: September 06, 2001 at 12:44 AM (#72377)
Craig wrote:
   10. Colin Posted: September 07, 2001 at 05:48 PM (#72379)
Does anyone have a URL for an English-language page that does daily updaes/summaries on Japanese baseball?
   11. BobT Posted: September 07, 2001 at 06:20 PM (#72380)
You can check out the Japan Times online at

The stories aren't long, but they will give you the nuts and bolts.

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