Baseball Records: Top Five Home Run Hitters In Japan

Sadaharu Oh: 868 Home Runs

Fred Russell, Sadaharu Oh and Sparky Anderson in Tokyo, Japan in 1981 (public domain/Wikimedia Commons)
Fred Russell, Sadaharu Oh and Sparky Anderson in Tokyo, Japan in 1981 (public domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Top Hitters Around the World

JAPAN, CUBA, and MEXICO...

In addition to American all-time top home run hitters, there are baseball stars around the world. Here are the top 7 home run hitters in Japanese baseball history, with there career home run scores.

American and Japanese pitching has been very different in the past, so there is some controversy over the high numbers of Japanese home runs. However, we have some opinions of several US major leaguers to ponder below.

I hope you enjoy this listing of Japanese Home Run Hitting Stars through 2005, with a little history and commentary. Find out what a sayonara homer is, too.

1. Sadaharu Oh: 868 Home runs

2. Katsuya Nomura: 657

3. Hiromitsu Kadota: 567

4. Koji Yamamoto: 536

5. Kazuhiro Kiyohara: 514

6. Hiromitsu Ochiai: 510

7. Isao Harimoto: 504

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New York Giants, 1896

Baseball is still older in USA.
Baseball is still older in USA. | Source

The greatest Japanese baseball player in history is Sadaharu Oh, The Japanese Babe Ruth.

Home Runs: 868

Books by Sadaharu Oh:

Comments

The greatest Japanese baseball player in history is Sadaharu Oh, The Japanese Babe Ruth.After 868 home runs, he became a team manager from 1981 - 2006.

He hit a .301 lifetime average and achieved records for home runs (868) and RBIs (1,967). Oh won two back-to-back triple crowns in 1973 and 1974. During 22 career seasons from 1959-80, OH was Most Valuable Player nine times. His single-season home run record is 55, earned in 1964.

Japanese pitchers of Oh's era threw weaker pitches than the U.S. majors, so Oh generated more of his own power to propel the balls than he would have against our major leaguers. This makes his records more outstanding.

His batting stance came from Japanese swordsmanship and was taught to him by Tokyo Giants' hitting coach Hiroshi Arakawa in 1962. A full 191 of Oh's homers went 394 feet or farther. Another 575 homers sailed 361-393. Only 102 were less than 328 feet.

Oh took over as manager of the Tokyo Giants at the start of the 1980 season. He still is successful as well as tremendously popular. In 2006, Oh took his national team to the first ever championship in The World Baseball Classic (the Oh World Baseball Classic).

Quotes about Oh from USA Major Leaguers who knew him:

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 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."

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 in the 30's [homers per year] and probably in the low 40's. Thirty home runs a year add 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."

Katsuya Nomura

The greatest catcher in Japanese baseball, Nomura holds the world record for most games played by a catcher -- 2918 in a 27-year career. He also has hit more home runs than any other catcher: 657. Nomura won 9 home run titles and 6 RBI titles. In 1965 Nomura he won the Triple Crown: 42 homers, 110 RBIs, and a .320 batting average. Retired in 1980, he is in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

Hiromitsu Kadota

Hiromitsu Kadota ranks 3rd historically in Japanese Pro Baseball home runs with 567. His 11 grand slams are tied for 6th. He is 4th in hits with 2,566 and 3rd in RBIs with 1,678. Kadota hit 133 home runs after his 40th birthday and made 14 All-Star teams. In 1983, he hit 4 grand slams, making a Pacific League record. In three seasons back-to-back, he batted .600.

Koji Yamamoto

Yamamoto holds the Japanese All-Star game record with 14 home runs. He retired third all-time high with 536 home runs and is currently 4th behind superman Sadaharu Oh., Nomura, and Kadota. His 11 grand slams are tied for 6th all-time highest.

During 1977-1981 Yamamoto enjoyed 40 home run seasons each year. Among many achievements, he won multiple MVP awards and the Hiroshima Carp won their Japan series title during his hot streak. All during the 5-year streak, Yamamoto led the league in at least once major offensive stat.

Kazuhiro Kiyohara

As a rookie with the Seibu Lions, Kiyohara won Rookie of the Year in the Pacific League, His 31 home runs matched the best by a Japanese Rookie of the Year. He has since served on 17 All-Star teams.With 514 career homers, Kiyohara is 5th all-time hitter in Japan and is now his 18th season. Kiyohara is second all-time with 10 sayonara homers (hitting a homer in the last At Bat of the game). He is in the top 10 in RBI, total bases.

Hiromitsu Ochiai

Ochiai became a regular player at age 28, He is 6th all-time in HR (510), in the top 20 in doubles (371), 9th in hits (2,371), is tied for 6th in average, 5th in RBI (1,564) and has made many other achievements in stats.

Ochiai refused entry in the Meikyukai ("Association of Great Players," or "Golden Players Club") because of their arbitrary statistical requirements. Ochiai was an All-Star 15 times and won two Triple Crowns. He set several Pacific League records and won two MVPs. Ochiai became a baseball commentator when he retired and was hired to manage the Dragons team. He is well known for reducing the intensity and length of Japanese practice sessions.

Isao Harimoto

Isao Harimoto is the only player in Nippon Pro Baseball to attain 3,000 career hits. An 18-time All-Star, Harimoto is the only player with both 500 home runs and 300 steals. He is tied for 7th in home runs (504), is 9th in triples (72), 5th in doubles (420), and fourth in RBI (1,676), among other accomplishments, In 1990, he was inducted into Japan's Baseball Hall of Fame and in 2000 was voted onto Japan's All-Century Team, one of only three players from before 1965 that made it.

Sachio Kinugasa

Sachio Kinugasa, third baseman of the team called the Hiroshima Carp, played 2215 consecutive games form 1970 - 1987. Kinugasa hit 504 career home runs in his career and was an All Star 13 times.

© 2007 Patty Inglish

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Comments 3 comments

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Nice hub, Patty, about the world's greatest baseball holders, even in Japan. Voted up for interesting!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 20 months ago from North America Author

Thanks for reading, Kristen Howe - there are probably some new names to add this year!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

My pleasure Patty.

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    Patty Inglish (Patty Inglish, MS)6,760 Followers
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