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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Japanese slugger Munetaka Murakami makes NPB home run history with 55th blast of 2022 season

Munetaka Murakami, a 22-year-old third baseman with the Yakult Swallows, tied Sadaharu Oh’s single-season Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) home run record for Japanese-born players on Tuesday. Murakami homered twice, giving him 55 home runs on the season, and drove in four runs in a 9-7 loss against the Yomiuri Giants….

NPB’s overall single-season home-run record belongs to former Seattle Mariners outfielder Wladimir Balentien, who homered 60 times during the 2013 season. Balentien also played for the Swallows, meaning the path ahead of Murakami is similar to the one being traversed by New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge. (Judge is attempting to break Roger Maris’ franchise and American League single-season record for home runs.)

Murakami entered Tuesday hitting .333/.469/.747 with 53 home runs, 128 runs batted in, and nearly as many walks (105) as strikeouts (108). He was averaging a home run every 8.2 at-bats; for reference, Judge is averaging one every 9.2 at-bats.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 13, 2022 at 10:35 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, npb

Monday, September 05, 2022

Munetaka Murakami’s assault on baseball record book taking Japan by storm

Twenty-two-year-old Munetaka Murakami’s season home run total entered some rarified air Friday when he became the youngest Japan-born player to hit 50 and the first since Hideki Matsui did it in 2002.

Playing for the Central League’s Yakult Swallows on their Tokyo home ground, home run-friendly Jingu Stadium, Murakami broke up a scoreless game off Chunichi Dragons ace Yudai Ono. The lefty missed in the middle of the plate, and Murakami blasted a three-run home run in a 5-0 victory.

I wanted to get the ball in the air and, at the very minimum, get a sacrifice fly,” said Murakami, who wears the same No. 55 that Matsui sported during his time with the rival Yomiuri Giants.

“I’m proud to have achieved something that puts me alongside him (Matsui), but I have other private goals I want to try hard to achieve… Not specific numbers but rather to get better each and every day.”

All five of the Japan-born players with 50-plus home runs in a season—Makoto Kozuru, Katsuya Nomura, Sadaharu Oh, Hiromitsu Ochiai and Matsui—are enshrined in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 05, 2022 at 12:23 AM | 76 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Japanese baseball, a 150-year journey of transformation

That mentality came to baseball accidentally, stemming partly from the success made by Japan’s first national baseball heroes, 24 years after Wilson introduced the game.

The team from “Ichiko,” the academically elite First Higher School of Tokyo, was an organic grass-roots endeavor that adopted some Western ideas that came with the new sport and wed them to the ethos of Japan’s feudal era warrior code.

The treaty port of Yokohama hosted Japan’s first games at least as early as 1871 between American merchants and U.S. Navy sailors. The first Japanese team, the Shimbashi Athletic Club, was formed by American-trained engineer Hiroshi Hiraoka in 1878, among employees of Japan’s first railroad, between Yokohama and Tokyo’s Shimbashi.

Ichiko’s victories over Yokohama-based teams of American adults, sometimes bolstered by sailors, ignited a Japanese interest in the game that remains bright.

Japanese flocked to watch this sports phenomenon, but change was in the wind.

Within a few years, Ichiko was displaced as a power by the Tokyo vocational schools that would evolve into Waseda and Keio universities. Influential Ichiko alumni blamed the current players for dropping the ball.

Although Ichiko’s fall from grace was caused when rising admission standards steered top athletes to other schools, the players’ failure was blamed on their embrace of Western liberal ideas and abandoning their predecessors’ self-sacrificing approach.

Before long, baseball came under attack over the unruly behavior of players and student supporters across the country.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 14, 2022 at 11:48 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball

Friday, June 10, 2022

Roberto Osuna Signs With NPB’s Chiba Lotte Marines

Reliever Roberto Osuna has signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced yesterday. Mexican publication Beisbolpuro first reported the agreement (Twitter link) last week.

Osuna has spent the 2022 season playing in the Mexican League, where he’s appeared in 12 games with the Diablos Rojos del México. He tossed 13 1/3 innings of three-run ball, striking out 15 batters and collecting six saves. That strong work caught the attention of the Marines, who figure to install Osuna at the back end of their bullpen.

The 27-year-old hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2020, when he was outrighted off the Astros roster. Osuna had missed much of that season with an elbow injury that limited him to four appearances. That malady initially came with a recommendation he undergo Tommy John surgery, but a second opinion suggested he could rehab without going under the knife. He’s spent the past couple seasons pitching in Mexico and seems to have recovered from the elbow issue, considering how effective he’s been for the Diablos Rojos.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 10, 2022 at 03:50 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: domestic violence, japanese baseball, npb, roberto osuna



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