PDA

View Full Version : Sadaharu Oh



Pages : [1] 2

julusnc
12-12-2004, 08:50 PM
Oh's 868 home runs in Japan set an all-time pro baseball record. The son of a Chinese father and a Japanese mother, he had trouble gaining acceptance with Japanese fans after signing for a $60,000 bonus as a pitcher. Switched to first base, he couldn't hit the curveball until he took up samurai swordsmanship as a practice method; he adopted a foot-in-the-air stance similar to Mel Ott's, though he was unaware of Ott's existence. He was noted for taking 30 to 40 minutes of batting practice a day

In 1965 Oh set the Japanese record of 55 HR in a 140-game season. His record of 54 HR for the revised 130-game schedule was tied by Randy Bass in 1986. He averaged 45 HR a year in winning 13 consecutive HR titles. On the dominating Yomiuri Giants, Oh batted third and Shigeo Nagashima hit clean-up as Japan's equivalent of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Oh won triple crowns in 1974 and 1975. He broke Hank Aaron's career HR mark in 1978, but Aaron, six years Oh's senior, out-homered him in contests held in 1974 and 1984. Oh became Yomiuri's manager upon retirement.

julusnc
12-12-2004, 08:53 PM
>>October 4, 1958: A Tokyo schoolboy star named Sadaharu Oh is signed by the Yomiuri Giants for a bonus of Y13,000,000 (about $55,000). Oh will become one of the most famous players in baseball, setting many world hitting records.

» April 26, 1959: Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants hits the first of 868 career home runs.

» June 26, 1959: The "Emperor's game," the greatest in Japanese baseball history, is played by the Yomiuri Giants and the Hanshin Tigers, with Emperor Hirohito and his wife attending at Tokyo's Korakuen Stadium. The game is tied 4–4 in the 7th on Giants rookie Sadaharu Oh's 2-run home run, then won 5–4 in the last of the 9th on a home run by the Giant's Shigeo Nagashima. This starts the famed "O-N cannon," the hitting combination of Oh and Nagashima, that will bring the Giants nine pennants between 1965 and 1973. In all, the O-N cannon hits dual home runs in 106 games.

» May 3, 1964: Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants hits four home runs in one 9-inning game against the Hanshin Tigers to set a Japanese record, and tie the American major-league record held by seven players.

» May 5, 1964: To foil Sadaharu Oh, the Hiroshima Carp use an exaggerated shift that places all fielders in right and center, leaving LF unguarded. Oh responds by hitting a 400-foot home run to RF.

» September 28, 1964: Sadaharu Oh hits his 55th home run of Yomiuri's 130-game season. It is his highest total and a Japanese record.

» June 6, 1972: Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants (Japanese League) hits home runs 499 and 500.

» September 20, 1972: Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants hits a home run to set a new Japanese record of seven home runs in seven consecutive games. Dale Long in 1956 hit in eight straight, and several players have hit in 6.

» May 30, 1974: Sadaharu Oh becomes the first player in Japanese baseball to hit 600 home runs. Only Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays are ahead of Oh—and he will surpass them all.

» September 24, 1974: Clarence Jones of the Kintetsu Buffaloes hits his 38th HR to become the first American to win a Japanese HR title, topping the Pacific League in roundtrippers. Sadaharu Oh will lead the Central League with 49 homers. Jones will lead the league again with 36 HRs in 1976.

» October 12, 1974: Sadaharu Oh draws his 166th walk in a 130-game season, setting a Japanese record. At his retirement in 1980, Oh will hold the all-time world record for walks, 2,504, topping Babe Ruth's record of 2,056.

» November 2, 1974: The Braves trade Hank Aaron to the Brewers for OF Dave May and a minor league pitcher to be named later. Aaron will finish his ML career in Milwaukee, where he started it in 1954. Meanwhile, Aaron, the home run king of American baseball, and Sadaharu Oh, his Japanese counterpart, square off for a home run contest at Korakuen Stadium. Aaron wins 10–9.

» July 23, 1976: In a game against the Taiyo Whales, Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants hits his 700th home run, the only player in Japanese baseball to do so.

» October 11, 1976: In the last of the 8th, leading the Hanshin Tigers 4-1 with 2 out and a full count, Sadaharu Oh socks his 715th HR to pass Babe Ruth's mark. He finishes the season with 716 HRs and takes aim at Hank Aaron's record.

» July 19, 1977: While pursuing Hank Aaron's home run record, Sadaharu Oh breaks one held by Babe Ruth when he draws his 2,057th base on balls.

» August 31, 1977: Hank Aaron's mark of 755 career home runs is tied by Sadaharu Oh.

» September 3, 1977: Sadaharu Oh hits the 756th home run of his career to surpass Hank Aaron's total and make him the most prolific home run hitter in professional baseball history.

» April 1, 1978: Starting off with a bang, Japanese star Sadaharu Oh hits a grand-slam home run on Opening Day. It is his 757th home run.

» August 30, 1978: Sadaharu Oh hits his 34th season home run and the 800th of his career. The ball lands in the shoe of a fan who had removed it to feel more comfortable.

» November 4, 1980: Forty-year-old Sadaharu Oh, professional baseball's all-time home run king with 868 in 22 seasons in Japan, retires.

julusnc
12-12-2004, 08:58 PM
Davey Johnson (the only man to have been a teammate of Oh and Aaron)[from the Sporting News, January 7, 1978, page 37]: "Oh would have hit 700 homers over here. He would be a good hitter anywhere in the world. Quality is still quality."

julusnc
12-12-2004, 08:59 PM
Frank Robinson: "I’m sure he would have hit in the 30’s (of 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."

julusnc
12-12-2004, 09:00 PM
Tom Seaver: "He sure hit me. He was a superb hitter. He hit consistently, and he hit with power. If he played in the United States, he would have hit 20-25 home runs a year, and what’s more, he’d hit .300. He’d be 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."

julusnc
12-12-2004, 09:00 PM
Frank Howard: "You can kiss my ass if he wouldn’t have hit 30 or 35 home runs a year and hit anywhere from .280 to .320 and drive in up to 120 runs a year. The point being, he rates with the all-time stars of the game."

mac195
12-12-2004, 09:10 PM
Oh was as dominant in the 1960s Japan Leagues as Ruth was in 1920s MLB. But Japan League quality was probably similar to AAA ball. With the Negro Leaguers, at least we have all those exhibtion games to consider, and the advantage of having evaluations from lots of coaches and writers who watched both white and black baseball. It's harder to know where to rank Oh and other Japanese greats. The ridiculous numbers put up by marginal players like Bass, and recently by Rhodes and Cabrerra in the Japan Leagues, also taint the accomplishments of the Japanese greats somewhat.

prof93
12-12-2004, 09:12 PM
Oh was as dominant in the 1960s Japan Leagues as Ruth was in 1920s MLB. But Japan League quality was probably similar to AAA ball. With the Negro Leaguers, at least we have all those exhibtion games to consider, and the advantage of having evaluations from lots of coaches and writers who watched both white and black baseball. It's harder to know where to rank Oh and other Japanese greats.

Exhibition games against white semi-pro teams, because their is little evidence to back the statements that those white teams were made up of all MLB players. I have yet to see verifiable proof that Gibson and other NLers played many games against rosters made up of all MLB players. Oh at least can make that claim.

julusnc
12-12-2004, 09:38 PM
A little information can work wonders in ones understanding of a player and his career.

Oh deserves to be recognized for what he is and that is the greatest player Japan has ever had to offer.

julusnc
12-12-2004, 09:57 PM
The stance

cubbieinexile
12-12-2004, 10:07 PM
When the color broke how many blacks had the ability to become instant starters for a major league team. I would say quite a few. Off the top of my head are Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Jackie, Campanella, Newcombe, Monte Irvin, Larry Doby, and Willie Mays. Even Paige was able to contribute. How many Japanese players can compare as favorably as these negro leaguers? It is true that the Japanese and Majors have set it up so that the stream of players is a trickle coming to America. But I have yet to see the enough players that would lead me to believe that Japan has the vast network of players capable of being as great as those I just mentioned. And that is talking in terms of the here and now. Going thirty years back it was probably much worse.


If I had to bet which player is more likely to succeed in the majors a black from the thirties or a Japenese from the 60's. I would put my money on the african-american. We know the impact that these players had only a short time later. While the jury is still out on whether or not large number of japanese ball players can compete in the majors.

leecemark
12-12-2004, 10:14 PM
--Mac has a very good point about marginal major leaguers going over to the Japanese leagues and being great stars. Randy Bass flopped in multiple opportunites in the majors, went to Japan and was the best player in the league, then came back and flopped again. Quite a few other quad A types have had similar success over there.
--Of course, no guys who tried and failed in the majors went on to play in the Negro Leagues (so far as I know) so I suppose you could make the arguement it would have happened there too, although I personnally wouldn't buy such an arguement.
--Oh was the best player in Japanese history. That should be honor enough for him. He could most likely have been a good major league player had he choosen to try. That is the other reason we shouldn't be too concerned about ranking Oh. Unlike the Negro Leaguers there was no prohibition on his giving MLB a try if he'd wished. He preferred being the best in Japan to a pretty good player in the U.S.

julusnc
12-12-2004, 10:19 PM
The majority of Japanese players would have never dreamed of coming to the United States to play baseball because they saw the Japanese League Baseball as superior in alot of ways to the American game.The Japanese have always been puriest in their thinking of how to take an idea from a given culture and make it into their own and thus in their mindset superior.

Only recently has this ideal changed due in part by high salaries and more "better feelings" towards America.

cubbieinexile
12-12-2004, 10:27 PM
Actually I believe there was and still is a prohibition against Japanese players coming to the majors. The two leagues signed an agreement in 1967 which was basically an agreement to respect both leagues reserve clause. Meaning you couldn't take our players without permission and we won't hire your players without permission. So in actuality Oh could not have gone to play for the Majors unless the Japanese leagues agreed to it.

Nowadays Japanese players can come to America but they must be free agents, and I believe Japanese players are eligible for free agency only after ten years.

leecemark
12-12-2004, 10:28 PM
--The Japanese may find some of the style of play there superior to MLB, but they are and have always been aware the the quality of play and players in the U.S. is far superior to that of Japan. They have long had a limit of 2 U.S. players per team to keep foreign imports from dominating the game.
--That despite the fact that was always little chance of stars players going over. Even before free agency and the multi-million dollar deals of recent years the pay scale in Japan was significantly lower than in MLB.

mac195
12-12-2004, 10:28 PM
the jury is still out on whether or not large number of japanese ball players can compete in the majors.

I think it is a pretty safe bet at this point to say that no, large numbers of Japanese players cannot compete in the Major Leagues. If the Japan Leagues folded, and every Japanese professional was competing for a job at the next MLB spring training, I don't think more than 20 or 30 would be successful. And I'm almost certain none of them would become as good as Ichiro or Hideki Matsui, who are far and away the best Japanese players of this generation. Japan is a great baseball nation, but it is not the Dominican Republic.

cubbieinexile
12-12-2004, 10:36 PM
But how many Japanese players could make a team if they only had to compete against the "white" ballplayers?

AG2004
12-13-2004, 01:32 PM
--Of course, no guys who tried and failed in the majors went on to play in the Negro Leagues (so far as I know) so I suppose you could make the arguement it would have happened there too, although I personnally wouldn't buy such an arguement.
--Oh was the best player in Japanese history. That should be honor enough for him. He could most likely have been a good major league player had he choosen to try. That is the other reason we shouldn't be too concerned about ranking Oh. Unlike the Negro Leaguers there was no prohibition on his giving MLB a try if he'd wished. He preferred being the best in Japan to a pretty good player in the U.S.

Willard Brown didn't do too well in his trial in the majors. A star with the Kansas City Monarchs, he fared poorly in a handful of games with the St. Louis Browns in 1947. The St. Louis players weren't supportive of Brown at all. For example, after Brown hit his only MLB home run with a borrowed bat, he returned the bat to Jeff Heath, only to see Heath destroy the bat. Brown also came to believe that the Browns were worse than the Monarchs, and returned to Kansas City.

As for Oh, by the time he became a full-fledged star, the Murakami affair would have influenced MLB teams not to sign Japanese players, and the de facto ban on signing Japanese players had been initiated. If I recall correctly, the ban on Negro League players was also de facto, not de jure.

cubbieinexile: If you rank the top players in Japanese baseball history, probably the majority of the top ten would include players who reached their peak in the 1960s: Oh, Nagashima, Nomura, Kaneda, and Harimoto. I also think Oh would have been a great player if he had played MLB - the subjective opinions mentioned above, Oh's actual performance against major leaguers, and Jim Albright's sabermetric conversion of Oh's NPB statistics to Major League equivalents all produce roughly the same results. (See the articles found at http://baseballguru.com/bbjp1.html for details.)

Honus Wagner Rules
01-28-2005, 09:28 PM
Oh was as dominant in the 1960s Japan Leagues as Ruth was in 1920s MLB. But Japan League quality was probably similar to AAA ball. With the Negro Leaguers, at least we have all those exhibtion games to consider, and the advantage of having evaluations from lots of coaches and writers who watched both white and black baseball. It's harder to know where to rank Oh and other Japanese greats. The ridiculous numbers put up by marginal players like Bass, and recently by Rhodes and Cabrerra in the Japan Leagues, also taint the accomplishments of the Japanese greats somewhat.
I hear this argument all then time but I don't buy it. Yes, Bass, Rhodes were marginal major leaguers. They went over to Japan and did well. People use this to denigrade Japanese baseball. However it makes a conclusion without really looking at the issue. Isn't it quite possible that Bass and Rhodes went to Japan and became better players? The people who bring up Bass and Rhodes seem to forget Cecil Fielder. And What about Matsui, and Ichiro, and all the successful pitchers that have to come to the major leagues. If MLB was that substantially better than Japanese baseball then how did all these Japanese players succeed?

In the book, You Gotta Have Wa there was a part of the book that is quoting Warren Cromartie. He was talking about Randy Bass and how he has become such a good hitter and was probably a better player than about 90% of the first basemen in the majors at that time.

Cabrera is a different story. He played one season in the D-Back and had a hit .262 and slugged .500. A lot of "marginal" players that go over to Japan never really had an opportunity to establish themselves in the majors.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-28-2005, 09:30 PM
I think it is a pretty safe bet at this point to say that no, large numbers of Japanese players cannot compete in the Major Leagues. If the Japan Leagues folded, and every Japanese professional was competing for a job at the next MLB spring training, I don't think more than 20 or 30 would be successful. And I'm almost certain none of them would become as good as Ichiro or Hideki Matsui, who are far and away the best Japanese players of this generation. Japan is a great baseball nation, but it is not the Dominican Republic.
A seven games series between Japan and the D.R. would be fun to watch.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-28-2005, 09:42 PM
I'm a big fan of Sadaharu Oh so I am biased. However I have studied his career in great detail and I believe he likely would have been a HoF major leaguer. He WOULDN'T have been Hank Aaron or Willie Mays quality, of course, but along the lines of Eddie Murray, Willie McCovey, or Mike Schmidt. And those players are certainly HoFers. Oh had great patience at the plate and was a Gold Glove 1B. I know a lot of people downplay his stats, however, no one else has ever come close to his HR total. He leads in career HRs by over 200. in Japan. He also drew a huge number of walks. Many major leaguers who played against him were impressed by him and he hit well again major leaguers, granted it was only about 110 games. If you take 42% of his HRs he still has 500. And I cannot believe that MLB is 42% more difficult. Just my $0.02.

leecemark
01-29-2005, 04:43 AM
--The players comenting on Oh were on a goodwill tour of Japan, playing exhibition games in the middle of the offseason. When asked about the greatest star of their host country what are the chances they are going to say "oh, he couldn't make it in the states" or "yeah, he would be a nice mid-level player". I think it is likely they were giving best case scenarios for Oh. I also think that he never faced major leaguers at anything close to their top form.
--Bass came back from Japan and gave MLB another try. He flopped badly. If he became a better hitter in Japan, he forgot what he had learned on the trip home. Even still, if it had just been Bass maybe I could buy into his having been a late bloomer. Lots of guys who couldn't play or were washed up in the majors have been dominant players in Japan.
-- No average Japanese players have made the move to the U.S. to give us a benchmark on how they would fare. I think its safe to say that no team in MLB is interested in being the first to find out. Matsui was the best Japanese power hitter since Oh. He has been a good, but far from great power hitter in the U.S. If Matsui is a 30 HR guy in the HR environment of todays game, Oh was more likley a 20 HR guy in the less homer friendly era he would have come over in.

Yankees7
01-29-2005, 05:39 AM
Well I can't speak for todays MLB players, if thats what we call them. But in my day the teams who went to Japan to play, played to win. I think once Oh got to know the pitchers, and adapted to the style of play he would produced very nicely. As for Matsui, your not giving him much time before you pass judgement. He played decent his first season, and even better the next. Look at his huge jump in OBP,SLG,BA,HR. Your not being fair in making such a comment after only 2 seasons. Give the man his 3rd crack and see how he does. If Matsui improves again to the degree he did this past season, your hypothesis will prove to be incorrect

leecemark
01-29-2005, 05:51 AM
--I'm sure they tried to win. However, they also played those games in the middle of the offseason and I don't think they got alot of training time before hand. I wou;dn't put too much faith in the numbers compiled in those exhibitions.
--Also, I think the Japanese Leagues were in a more formative stage in the 1960s. MLB baseball was fully develped. Baseball in Japan has almost certainly improved over the time that has passed since then. MLB probaly less so, if it hasn't even regressed a little. It wouldn't be unreasonable to say that Matsui was better equipped to succeed than Oh might have been.
--I think Oh could have been a good major leaguer. I doubt he would have been a great. I think the earlier comparison to Eddie Murray was probably a top end translation for Oh. Strictly a guess, but I'd say his success range would have been somewhere between 260-15 HR and 285-30 in his prime.
--It really doesn't matter much, becasue Oh is already established in Japan as their Babe Ruth. There is no particualar reason to try to fit his accomplishments in a MLB context as we do with Negro Leaguers. The Jaopan Leagues still exist and they are a separate and unequal class of player. they are simply a different league in a different country.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-29-2005, 04:17 PM
--The players comenting on Oh were on a goodwill tour of Japan, playing exhibition games in the middle of the offseason. When asked about the greatest star of their host country what are the chances they are going to say "oh, he couldn't make it in the states" or "yeah, he would be a nice mid-level player". I think it is likely they were giving best case scenarios for Oh. I also think that he never faced major leaguers at anything close to their top form.
I'm not sure what your point is? I guess you are trying to say that major leaguers who saw him play were a little less than honest? Why wouldn't they be honest? They all said he could play and play well in the majors. As for never facing major leaguers at their top form,when they met in the offseason Oh wasn't in top form either right? It was his offseason, too.

Here are some actual quotes from players:

Tom Seaver: “He sure hit me. He was a superb hitter. He hit consistently, and he hit with power. If he played in the United States, he would have hit 20-25 home runs a year, and what’s more, he’d hit .300. He’d be 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 . . . He had good power. I don’t know how many he would have hit here . . . start with 20 (a year) . . . at least. He was a great all-star. He’d have been a Hall of Famer.”

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: “You can kiss my ass if he wouldn’t have hit 30 or 35 home runs a year and hit anywhere from .280 to .320 and drive in up to 120 runs a year. The point being, he rates with the all-time stars of the game.”

Frank Robinson: “I’m sure he would have hit in the 30’s (of 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.” Not all of these quotes came while the players were on a "goodwill tour". Of course there were others who were not as impressed. All of these quotes are subjextive of course.





--Bass came back from Japan and gave MLB another try. He flopped badly. If he became a better hitter in Japan, he forgot what he had learned on the trip home. Even still, if it had just been Bass maybe I could buy into his having been a late bloomer. Lots of guys who couldn't play or were washed up in the majors have been dominant players in Japan.
He did? According Baseball-Reference.com Bass played his last major league game in 1982.

Randy Bass major league stats (http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/bassra01.shtml)



-- No average Japanese players have made the move to the U.S. to give us a benchmark on how they would fare. I think its safe to say that no team in MLB is interested in being the first to find out. Matsui was the best Japanese power hitter since Oh. He has been a good, but far from great power hitter in the U.S.
I guess you don't remember Tsuyoshi Shinjo? He was an average player in Japan with a career .249 batting average in Japan. He hit .245 in his three major league seasons. Since Matsui's major league is not yet over we cannot say for certain that 30 HRs is his upper range. I believe he has a 40-45 HR season in him still. He is only 30 ears old. His 50 HR season in 2002 was by far his career best. His next best total is "only" 42. And Matsui is not the "best power hitter since Oh. Have you heard of Hiromitsu Ochiai? He was a third baseman in the 80s. He had acouple of 50 HR seasons and won three Triple Crowns. There are few others I could mention. Sure ,Matusi is one of the best since Oh but necessarily the best.



If Matsui is a 30 HR guy in the HR environment of todays game, Oh was more likley a 20 HR guy in the less homer friendly era he would have come over in.

The mid 1960s were a low batting average era not a low HR era.

Here are the HR league leaders for 1960-1975 (Oh's prime)

1962-49(NL)-48(AL)
1963:47-45
1964:47-49
1965:52-32
1966:44-49
1967:39-44
1968:36-44
1969:45-49
1970:45-44
1971:48-33
1972:40-37
1973:44-32
1974:36-32
1975:38-36

That's hardly a low HR era.

ElHalo
01-29-2005, 04:23 PM
-- No average Japanese players have made the move to the U.S. to give us a benchmark on how they would fare. I think its safe to say that no team in MLB is interested in being the first to find out. Matsui was the best Japanese power hitter since Oh. He has been a good, but far from great power hitter in the U.S. If Matsui is a 30 HR guy in the HR environment of todays game, Oh was more likley a 20 HR guy in the less homer friendly era he would have come over in.

To be fair,

Matsui's been a little better than you're giving him credit for. Yes, he's a 30 HR guy and not a 40 or 50 HR guy. However, he's a very good all around player, with nice contact hitting, excellent plate discipline, and very good fundamentals. He's not the best player in the league; he's really only the fourth best player on his own team. However, he is a legitimately deserving All Star outfielder, and one of the answers to this trivia question:

In the last fifty years, only three major leaguers have had 100 RBI in each of their first two MLB seasons. Name them.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-29-2005, 04:36 PM
To be fair,

Matsui's been a little better than you're giving him credit for. Yes, he's a 30 HR guy and not a 40 or 50 HR guy. However, he's a very good all around player, with nice contact hitting, excellent plate discipline, and very good fundamentals. He's not the best player in the league; he's really only the fourth best player on his own team. However, he is a legitimately deserving All Star outfielder, and one of the answers to this trivia question:

In the last fifty years, only three major leaguers have had 100 RBI in each of their first two MLB seasons. Name them.
I assume you means first two full seasons.

Jose Canseco (played 29 games in '85)
Albert Pujols

leecemark
01-29-2005, 04:37 PM
--I was accusing the touring major leaguers of politeness, not dishonesty.
--As I recall, Bass came back and had a shot in spring training but couldn't make the team. I was actually living in Japan when Bass was playing there and it was a big story at the time. Long time ago though and the details are a little hazy.
--It was the offseason for Oh as well, but I beleive the Japanese trained harder and longer and felt they had more to prove than the vacationing Americans. I suppose I could be wrong about that.
--The 60s and 70s were a low HR era compared to today. There are alot more people hitting 40 and 50 and 60 (and obviously 70 since nobody did that before 1998).
--I think were most of the difference in the Japanese Leagues and Major Leagues lies is in their power numbers. The parks are smaller and few pitchers throw as hard as the average major leaguer. I think the average Japanese player may be more fundamentally sound than the average major leaguer. They just aren't as big or strong or fast (with a few obvious exceptions).

ElHalo
01-29-2005, 04:46 PM
I assume you means first two full seasons.

Jose Canseco (played 29 games in '85)
Albert Pujols

You assume wrong.

Pujols is one of the other answers. Canseco is not the third.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-29-2005, 05:01 PM
You assume wrong.

Pujols is one of the other answers. Canseco is not the third.
So guys who got a cup of coffee in September don't count? Canseco had over 100 RBI in 1986 and 1987.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-29-2005, 05:06 PM
--I was accusing the touring major leaguers of politeness, not dishonesty.
--As I recall, Bass came back and had a shot in spring training but couldn't make the team. I was actually living in Japan when Bass was playing there and it was a big story at the time. Long time ago though and the details are a little hazy.
--It was the offseason for Oh as well, but I beleive the Japanese trained harder and longer and felt they had more to prove than the vacationing Americans. I suppose I could be wrong about that.
--The 60s and 70s were a low HR era compared to today. There are alot more people hitting 40 and 50 and 60 (and obviously 70 since nobody did that before 1998).
--I think were most of the difference in the Japanese Leagues and Major Leagues lies is in their power numbers. The parks are smaller and few pitchers throw as hard as the average major leaguer. I think the average Japanese player may be more fundamentally sound than the average major leaguer. They just aren't as big or strong or fast (with a few obvious exceptions).
Very true. However the great HR era of the 1990s was really from 1994-2001. since then only A-Rod has hit 50 HRs and he played in a great hitter's park. I'd be interested to read the story about Bass, attempted return to MLB.

ElHalo
01-29-2005, 05:14 PM
So guys who got a cup of coffee in September don't count? Canseco had over 100 RBI in 1986 and 1987.

No, he doesn't count. This is the trivia question. If guys who had partial seasons their first year counted, then there would be a whole lot more than 3 answers.

Aegis
01-30-2005, 12:49 AM
--I was accusing the touring major leaguers of politeness, not dishonesty.

In this case that's the same thing. Being "polite" in saying Oh would be better than what you actually think is being dishonest.

EH, I just can't find who it is you're asking about. At all.

Except you know what? I just had a thought. I looked up Dale Murphy, who I knew wasn't it, just for the heck of it. And somehow that led me to...Wally Joyner! Bam!

Imapotato
01-30-2005, 01:58 AM
For every negative about Oh's accomplishment's due to park size, pitching I can rebutt with the fact that Oh's seasons were 20 to 40 games LESS per season then MLB

and is the all time HR king by a large margin.

Now I won't say he was Henry Aaron is longevity if in MLB
Nor will I say he was Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle in talent

However, it is safe to say, OH would have been very close to Frank Robinson...whom was also his biggest supporter

THAT my friend's is a damn fine HOFer to be associated with...

Like many guys state about greatness, it still is greatness...I just hold Oh above Charleston, Pop Lloyd and Buck Leonard because he had an organized, consistent league.

Imapotato
01-30-2005, 02:00 AM
To be fair,

Matsui's been a little better than you're giving him credit for. Yes, he's a 30 HR guy and not a 40 or 50 HR guy. However, he's a very good all around player, with nice contact hitting, excellent plate discipline, and very good fundamentals. He's not the best player in the league; he's really only the fourth best player on his own team. However, he is a legitimately deserving All Star outfielder, and one of the answers to this trivia question:

In the last fifty years, only three major leaguers have had 100 RBI in each of their first two MLB seasons. Name them.


I disagree...I think Matsui is the 2nd best player on that team after Jeter.
A-Rod, Sheffield have the flashy stats, but I know with my own eyes that Matsui was a key man in many a game for the Yankees last year, despite his struggles against Boston in the playoffs

leecemark
01-30-2005, 06:39 AM
--The Pacific Coast League was organized and consistent for many years before the Japanese leagues. Should we vote their stars into the Hall of Fame?
--There is no possible way to state with any accuracy how Oh might have done had he played in the major leagues. The quality of his competition was much lower. No players from his league made the move for 30 years after his career was over and only a handful (including easily the best two) have done so at all.
--I know Imapotato hates to give Negro Leaguers any credit at all, but the Negro Leaguers of the 20s and 30s have a much better case for comparison to major league stars than a Japanese player of the 1960s and 70s. Many of them were still active (or even got a brief run) when the color line was broken and large numbers of former Negro Leaguers became dominant players in the Majors.

leecemark
01-30-2005, 06:42 AM
--Aegis, if you are a guest in someones home and don't particularly care for the food what do you say if they ask you how it is? Is it "dishonest" to say its good or do you say "I could have cooked a better meal at home"?

ElHalo
01-30-2005, 09:42 AM
EH, I just can't find who it is you're asking about. At all.

Except you know what? I just had a thought. I looked up Dale Murphy, who I knew wasn't it, just for the heck of it. And somehow that led me to...Wally Joyner! Bam!

That is indeed the answer.

The only players in the last 50 years to have 100 RBI's in each of their first two seasons are Hideki Matsui, Albert Pujols, and Wally Joyner.

Aegis
01-30-2005, 11:58 AM
--Aegis, if you are a guest in someones home and don't particularly care for the food what do you say if they ask you how it is? Is it "dishonest" to say its good or do you say "I could have cooked a better meal at home"?

It would be dishonest to say you liked it. It would (probably; depends on the host) be unduly rude to say you could do better.

This is when you whip out a line like, "I'm enjoying this meal," or something like that.

Lying and deceiving are two totally different sins. :)

Imapotato
01-30-2005, 03:21 PM
--I know Imapotato hates to give Negro Leaguers any credit at all, but the Negro Leaguers of the 20s and 30s have a much better case for comparison to major league stars than a Japanese player of the 1960s and 70s. Many of them were still active (or even got a brief run) when the color line was broken and large numbers of former Negro Leaguers became dominant players in the Majors.

and many failed...the Negro Leagues of the 30's were a different entity then the NL of the teens and 20's. The 20's had one all star team playing weak teams. Like the Globetrotters vs. Generals.

Using VERY conservative analysis, one man has taken Oh's stats and made them ML stats.

Oh at a conservative clip would have hit .279 535 HRS .417 OBP .797 OPS. If he was in the AL, he would have led in HRS 3 times and been top 10 on many occasions. and THAT is a conservative estimate, with a neutral park...many parks in the AL were LH HR parks during Oh's time...the man also did not count Oh's 1st 3 seasons

He would have been a better OBP Frank Robinson (at the least)...that's not a HOFer?

prof93
01-30-2005, 04:46 PM
Overall the Negro Leaguers constitute the most overrated group of baseball players ever. The whole thing is everyone wants to right a injustice that occured. I agree it was deplorable what took place, but their is not one person who can factually state they know for sure the best NL's would have been successful in the Majors. The played Semi-Pro teams for the most part, and numerous Amateur teams put together by local communities. At the very least Oh competed in an actual recognized League and has stats that are verifiable. For anyone to claim the Negro Leagues has comparable baseball to the Japanese Leagues is based on guesswork at best.

cubbieinexile
01-30-2005, 06:23 PM
Overall the Negro Leaguers constitute the most overrated group of baseball players ever. The whole thing is everyone wants to right a injustice that occured. I agree it was deplorable what took place, but their is not one person who can factually state they know for sure the best NL's would have been successful in the Majors. The played Semi-Pro teams for the most part, and numerous Amateur teams put together by local communities. At the very least Oh competed in an actual recognized League and has stats that are verifiable. For anyone to claim the Negro Leagues has comparable baseball to the Japanese Leagues is based on guesswork at best.


This is kind of silly. Not one person could factually state that the best NL's would have been successful in the majors? Nobody could think of any players that did well in the majors from the Negro Leagues? What did Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Roy Campanella, Monte Irvin, Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, and many others do in the majors that would lead you to say that we cannot know for sure what negro leaguers would do?

Yankees7
01-30-2005, 07:41 PM
Growming up in the late 40's and 50's it was fairly clear that the very best of the Negro Leagues could play at a Major League Baseball level, that being said, it was also clear those players were few and far between. The Negro Leagues were probably Double A ball caliber at their very best. I lived in that period and the Negro Leagues had some awfully fine players, but to say on the whole they were top tier quality would be an incorrect statement.

Yankees7
01-30-2005, 08:09 PM
I would like to add one more thing in regards to Oh, and the Negro League players. When your looking at the upper tier of talent in any league, those players could play any where.

ElHalo
01-30-2005, 08:13 PM
Growming up in the late 40's and 50's it was fairly clear that the very best of the Negro Leagues could play at a Major League Baseball level, that being said, it was also clear those players were few and far between. The Negro Leagues were probably Double A ball caliber at their very best. I lived in that period and the Negro Leagues had some awfully fine players, but to say on the whole they were top tier quality would be an incorrect statement.

I think this is the general regard with respect to the Negro Leagues. Overall, AA quality ball... but Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell and Oscar Charleston and Buck Leonard and Pop Lloyd and Turkey Stearnes and etc. would have been stars who'd have shone just as brightly as their MLB counterparts. Nobody's saying that Josh Gibson would have hit .470 with 75 HR's like he did in the NL's, but he'd have hit enough to be a class 1 star.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-31-2005, 08:41 PM
--The Pacific Coast League was organized and consistent for many years before the Japanese leagues. Should we vote their stars into the Hall of Fame?
Some points:

1) The question is what is the purpose of the Baseball HoF? Is it to honor only the best players in American and National Leagues? Or is it to honor the best players everywhere? If so then then why are players like Josh Gibson, Rube Foster, and Oscar Charleston in the HoF?

2) The National Basketball HoF not only honors NBA players and coaches, but also college players, international players and women's players.



--There is no possible way to state with any accuracy how Oh might have done had he played in the major leagues. The quality of his competition was much lower. No players from his league made the move for 30 years after his career was over and only a handful (including easily the best two) have done so at all.
Not true. Baseball Prospectus has done much research in converting Japanese stats to MLEs. Here is some links:

Japanese Baseball-How Good Is it? (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1330)

Japanese Baseball, Part 2 (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1348)

Baseball Prospectus concluded that Japanese baseball is much more difficult that Triple-A.

Also, Jim Albright over at www.baseballguru.com has done some extensive research on the career of Sadaharu Oh. He came up with a major league "career" for Oh.

Oh's Major League Projections (http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright14.html)

Oh's career analysis, Part 1 (http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright12.html)

Oh's career anaysis, Part 2 (http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright13.html)

Albright came up with these numbers for Oh, 2995 games

.279/.412/.484, 527 HRs, 1903 RBIs, 2778 hits, 1982 runs

For comparison here are Eddie Murray's numbers, 3026 games
.287/.359/.476, 504 HRs, 1917 RBI, 3255 hits, 1982 runs

I would love to see Oh and Murray's Similarity Score. It's got to be way over 900.

leecemark
01-31-2005, 08:55 PM
--The Baseball Hall of Fame is actually called the NATIONAL Hall of Fame. The Negro Leagues should be considered a competing major league like the American Association of the 1880s, from which the best players are in the Hall.
--Oh's hypotetical number's are indeed similar to Murray's real ones. It may well be that he was as good, or even better, than Murray. However, just because someone comes up with a formula for converting japanese numbers to mlb numbers doesn't mean they are right. I will stand by my previous statement that there is no possible way to say with accuracy what Oh or other Japanese stars might have done in the majors.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-31-2005, 09:01 PM
--The Baseball Hall of Fame is actually called the NATIONAL Hall of Fame. The Negro Leagues should be considered a competing major league like the American Association of the 1880s, from which the best players are in the Hall.
--Oh's hypotetical number's are indeed similar to Murray's real ones. It may well be that he was as good, or even better, than Murray. However, just because someone comes up with a formula for converting japanese numbers to mlb numbers doesn't mean they are right. I will stand by my previous statement that there is no possible way to say with accuracy what Oh or other Japanese stars might have done in the majors.
It doesn't mean they are wrong either.

Interestingly, here is the intro to one of Albright's articles:


Sadaharu Oh and Cooperstown, Part II



III. Statistical Analysis
A. My projection

You have now entered the section of the discussion of Sadaharu Oh some will dismiss as pure fantasy. If you are one of the folks who do not believe it is possible to project what a player would do in the major leagues from his performance in another league, you may want to skip this section entirely. We will use projections because they place the accomplishments for a player from a non-major league situation into a readily understood context, namely major league performance. Once we enter such a readily understood context, it is easier to get a reasonable fix on the quality of the player.

Sabermetricians has been doing major league equivalencies for quite some time now. Bill James was doing back in the 80s, taking a players minor league stats and "projecting" what he would in the major leagues bases on those minor league stats.

leecemark
01-31-2005, 09:21 PM
--Translating minor league numbers has a much more solid foundation than translating Japanese numbers. We have a huge sample size (almost every major leaguer) to work with in respect to minor leaguers. We have a tiny and brief one with Japanese Leagers. Even still, while minor league translations are valuable and fairly accurate, they are often off by alot. Many minor leaguers who are projected for stardom flop at the big league level.
--I'm not saying Oh wouldn't have been a good or even great player in the U.S. Maybe he would have, but there is no good foundation for claiming that we can accurately predict what a Japanese star of 30-40 years ago might have done had he played in the U.S. Oh is already recognized as the greatest player ever in the country where he played. That seems honor enough to me.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-31-2005, 09:40 PM
--Translating minor league numbers has a much more solid foundation than translating Japanese numbers. We have a huge sample size (almost every major leaguer) to work with in respect to minor leaguers. We have a tiny and brief one with Japanese Leagers. Even still, while minor league translations are valuable and fairly accurate, they are often off by alot. Many minor leaguers who are projected for stardom flop at the big league level.
--I'm not saying Oh wouldn't have been a good or even great player in the U.S. Maybe he would have, but there is no good foundation for claiming that we can accurately predict what a Japanese star of 30-40 years ago might have done had he played in the U.S. Oh is already recognized as the greatest player ever in the country where he played. That seems honor enough to me.
It is true only recently have sabermetricians been translating Japanese baseball stats. However, the methodology is the same. How are the Japanese leagues any different from the Pacific Coast League or the International League or the Texas League in terms of generating MLEs? Of course we will never know for sure how Oh would have fared in the major leagues This is true. But this is one of the most fun "what-ifs" in baseball.

cubbieinexile
01-31-2005, 09:47 PM
It's different because of the sample size issue. We have scores and scores of players coming up and going down to the american leagues. We have only a handful for the Japanese leagues. To me using any of todays data to guesstimate a players stats in america 30 to 40 years ago is bound to have enough pitfalls to not even really bother with it.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-31-2005, 09:54 PM
It's different because of the sample size issue. We have scores and scores of players coming up and going down to the american leagues. We have only a handful for the Japanese leagues. To me using any of todays data to guesstimate a players stats in america 30 to 40 years ago is bound to have enough pitfalls to not even really bother with it.

It's actually a bit more than a handful. Why would Baseball Prospectus bother with research if they didn't have the sample size. Remember they look at players coming from Japan AND players going over to Japan. I just thought their research was interesting. :)

Imapotato
01-31-2005, 10:20 PM
and just to let you all know

Randy Bass is getting unfair treatment here.

Bass could and WOULD have made a transition like Cecil Fielder, if not BETTER!

However, tragedy struck as his 8 yr old developed a brain tumor, he had fights about medical expenses with the Japan team and decided to hang them up...I don't know if his son died or not,,,but it seems like he would have.

cubbieinexile
01-31-2005, 10:35 PM
It's actually a bit more than a handful. Why would Baseball Prospectus bother with research if they didn't have the sample size. Remember they look at players coming from Japan AND players going over to Japan. I just thought their research was interesting. :)


I have seen their research and it is a handful. First part of BP's article

Japanese baseball performance should, in theory, be as translatable as performance from any baseball league in the United States. The process has had its challenges, though: the data is not as easy to find, and much of what is available is in a language and a character set that I can't read. (I still don't have complete data for 1996).
More serious a problem is the small number of players moving between Japan and the United States. The Translations system depends on being able to set a difficulty level for each league. To do that, I need to have a sizable group of players who have played in both the leagues I am testing and in leagues whose difficulty level I already know. Every player who played in both leagues needs to be compared to the league average; if, as a group, one set is league average, and the second set is 10% above average, you can assume that the second league is 10% worse that the first league.

With the Japanese leagues, there really haven't been enough comparisons to get a firm grip on the appropriate difficulty level, especially since almost all the comparisons were of players who went from the U.S. to Japan, and not from Japan to the U.S..



Around 2001 we start to see an increase, but of course it isn't even close to the size of data available between high school and organized ball, or college and organized ball, and minors and majors.

leecemark
02-01-2005, 06:13 AM
--Randy Bass had a line of 212/284/326 in 325 AB over 6 ML trials. He was 29 when he went to Japan. There was virtually no chance he was going to develop into a productive major leaguer. He did, however, immediately become the best hitter in the Japanese Leagues.
--Cecil Fielder slugged over .500 in two of his 4 trials and hit 31 HR in 406 AB over that period. He was held back by the presence of one time star Willie Upshaw and another young slugger, Fred McGriff, in Toronto. All he needed was a chance to play. Almost as important he was only 26 when he went to Japan. He was younger when he came back from Japan than Bass was when he went over.

Honus Wagner Rules
02-01-2005, 05:41 PM
I have seen their research and it is a handful. First part of BP's article


Around 2001 we start to see an increase, but of course it isn't even close to the size of data available between high school and organized ball, or college and organized ball, and minors and majors.

You took the quote out of context. The author was trying to make a point that the in the past it was difficult determine the difficulty of the Japanese leagues but now with more players in thier primes from Japan coming here it can be done. Also the amount of data for minor leaguers is completely irrelevant to whether it is possible to "translate" Japanese stats. Even if the amount of data for minor leaguers was a million fold over the Japanese data that doesn't mean we can't translate Japanese stats. Later on in the article Davenport states this :


In Baseball Prospectus 2001, I wrote that the difficulty level of Japan was "about even with the Triple-A leagues." Looking at it more comprehensively--I was basing my assessment on a scattering of players, rather than off a full list of Japanese player data--that was a silly thing to say, as the Japanese leagues have clearly and consistently rated as tougher than the American Triple-A leagues. Every case from the 1990s shows that players do worse as a CPA-weighted-average group in Japan than they do in Triple-A, and by a considerable margin. The Triple-A/majors multiplier is .860; if the transitive property holds, then Japanese EqA is worth about .948 of a major-league EqA, which conveniently enough is almost identical to what we got from major leaguers.

What I didn't realize that there have been a significant number of career minor leaguers that have gone over to Japan thus increasing the reliability of the statistical translations.

As for Bass I have to go check out his Japanese stats. I'm not sure that he IMMEDIATELY became the best hitter in Japan. I'll have to check it out. :lookitup


I've looked at his ML stats and in only one season did he even get over 100 ABs. The other season he got 49 ABs or fewer. I'm be curious to find out what happened to him. With so few ABs it seems that he might not have had a real opportunity to establish himself...I dunno...

Aegis
02-01-2005, 06:04 PM
Around 2001 we start to see an increase, but of course it isn't even close to the size of data available between high school and organized ball, or college and organized ball, and minors and majors.

But that may not even be relevant. So long as there's enough of data for Sample A to distill a reliable answer from, it doesn't really matter if there's 10x as much data for Sample B. All the extra samples will do for B is make it even more apparent where the mean averages are. Flipping a coin 5000 times as opposed to 500 will only iron things out by a percent or two, which in both that example and in baseball doesn't amount to much. Unless you're Tony Oliva going for a batting title.

cubbieinexile
02-01-2005, 07:56 PM
You took the quote out of context. The author was trying to make a point that the in the past it was difficult determine the difficulty of the Japanese leagues but now with more players in thier primes from Japan coming here it can be done. Also the amount of data for minor leaguers is completely irrelevant to whether it is possible to "translate" Japanese stats. Even if the amount of data for minor leaguers was a million fold over the Japanese data that doesn't mean we can't translate Japanese stats. Later on in the article Davenport states this :



What I didn't realize that there have been a significant number of career minor leaguers that have gone over to Japan thus increasing the reliability of the statistical translations.

As for Bass I have to go check out his Japanese stats. I'm not sure that he IMMEDIATELY became the best hitter in Japan. I'll have to check it out. :lookitup


I've looked at his ML stats and in only one season did he even get over 100 ABs. The other season he got 49 ABs or fewer. I'm be curious to find out what happened to him. With so few ABs it seems that he might not have had a real opportunity to establish himself...I dunno...


Actually I didn't take it how of context. I was using it as a point against using these translations for Oh.

As for the minor leagues and Japanese. In terms of reliability and precision the winner is the minor leagues not the Japanese leagues. We have at our disposal thousands upon thousands of points of evidence whereas with the Japanese leagues we have maybe hundreds spread out over a wide timeline and with a diverse group of people. Does that mean it cannot be done? No it does not and I never said it could not be done. You asked how was Japanese league different then minor leagues and the simple answer is sample size. In ten years will the difference still exist? Probably not but right now it does, though the data is growing faster now then it has ever done before.

leecemark
02-01-2005, 08:05 PM
--There isn't a 500 man sample size for Japanese-major league translations. There is a limit of 2 foreign players per team and many do not use them. Those who do go over are almost all either washed up major leaguers or guys who stalled out in AAA ball. If your measuring stick is players who either can no longer or never could play MLB how good can your measurements be.
-- Honus, while you are investigating Randy Bass I'd be interested in a comparison between his AAA stats in the states and his stats in Japan. We already know he couldn't hit major league pitching. I wonder if he dominated Japanese ball to a greater extent than he did in the minors . Of course, if he did (which I think you will find is true) that is also a very small small size and doesn't prove anything. It would be interesting though.

Honus Wagner Rules
02-01-2005, 08:06 PM
Actually I didn't take it how of context. I was using it as a point against using these translations for Oh.

As for the minor leagues and Japanese. In terms of reliability and precision the winner is the minor leagues not the Japanese leagues. We have at our disposal thousands upon thousands of points of evidence whereas with the Japanese leagues we have maybe hundreds spread out over a wide timeline and with a diverse group of people. Does that mean it cannot be done? No it does not and I never said it could not be done. You asked how was Japanese league different then minor leagues and the simple answer is sample size. In ten years will the difference still exist? Probably not but right now it does, though the data is growing faster now then it has ever done before.

No one is is saying that the Japanese translations are as precise as the minor league stats. I was just saying the the methodology is the same. As you said, in 10 years the Japanese translations will be more precise. I wasn't using the Baseball Prospectus to evaluate Oh's career. Bill Albright did his own independent evaluation of Oh's career based on his statistics and subjective views from comtempories who actually say him play. Actually, it would be very interesting to read comtemporary MLB scouting reports if they exist. What did MLB scouts think of him? An interesting research project perhaps...

cubbieinexile
02-01-2005, 08:07 PM
But that may not even be relevant. So long as there's enough of data for Sample A to distill a reliable answer from, it doesn't really matter if there's 10x as much data for Sample B. All the extra samples will do for B is make it even more apparent where the mean averages are. Flipping a coin 5000 times as opposed to 500 will only iron things out by a percent or two, which in both that example and in baseball doesn't amount to much. Unless you're Tony Oliva going for a batting title.


The problem though is that each individual player is a small subset of the total data. Players are not robots each player succeeds or fails for different reasons. Granted we are not all one of kind beings meaning that at some point we can divide people into groups but at smaller pools of players those groups can be hidden. I don't know if that was understood or not. I guess an example would BP's Pecota projections. They don't just look at the numbers but also look at a players size, height, build, injury history, and style of play to see if they can find similar players to create a trend line. This segment of baseball analysis is one of Bill Jame's favorite aspects of the game. He is always putting players into groups based on common characteristics. He is always comparing rookies who had comparable initial seasons and seeing why the two diverged.

Right now in terms of Japanese translations we have a very very small group of Japanese players coming to America, a very small group of major leaguers going to Japan, and a small group of minor leaguers going and coming back to America. Are these translations reliable? I don't know, probably in a ballpark sort of way. Are they as reliable as MLE's? Probably not even close, simply because there is so small a sample group that even a handful of bad reads will skew the result. Whereas MLE's can weather a handful of bad reads because they deal with hundreds of cases every year. IF you have a groupd of 20 players and were told that 5 of there translations (but not told which ones)were horribly off you would probably have no confidence in any of the translations. You would probably try to find another tool to pick players. Whereas if you 500 players and were told that 20 were horribly off you would still have a high confidence level in the overall numbers.

Honus Wagner Rules
02-01-2005, 08:16 PM
--There isn't a 500 man sample size for Japanese-major league translations. There is a limit of 2 foreign players per team and many do not use them. Those who do go over are almost all either washed up major leaguers or guys who stalled out in AAA ball. If your measuring stick is players who either can no longer or never could play MLB how good can your measurements be.
-- Honus, while you are investigating Randy Bass I'd be interested in a comparison between his AAA stats in the states and his stats in Japan. We already know he couldn't hit major league pitching. I wonder if he dominated Japanese ball to a greater extent than he did in the minors . Of course, if he did (which I think you will find is true) that is also a very small small size and doesn't prove anything. It would be interesting though.
So I guess we are all back to where we started. We don't know. :laugh

I guess that's why baseball is such a fun game. I'll look into Bass's minor league stats. I'd be more intested to research why he failed at the major league level. In only one season he only got 100 ABs. In all other seasons he got fewer than 49 ABs. I'm sure there is a hidden story in there.

There seems to be a paradox. Several "marginal" players have gone over there and dominated. That seems to indcate a great disparity in quality between MLB and Japan. Yet the majority of the Japanese players that have come over here have done well, even mediocre players like Shinjo (.249 caerer BA in Japan vs .245 career BA in the majors). It doesn't make sense. :confused:

So what was the purpose of this thread again? ;)

Aegis
02-01-2005, 08:17 PM
The problem though is that each individual player is a small subset of the total data. Players are not robots each player succeeds or fails for different reasons. Granted we are not all one of kind beings meaning that at some point we can divide people into groups but at smaller pools of players those groups can be hidden. I don't know if that was understood or not. I guess an example would BP's Pecota projections.

You mean that when the overall sample size is small, the sub-groups are sometimes too small to see? And since we're talking people, not cogs, the sub-groups are requisite to understand the players more effectively? If so, I'd agree with you on both counts. That also makes my initial analogy of flipping a coin somewhat ludicrous, but oh well.

Aside: Pecota projections are odd things. They're always guessing the player to have an average year, comparatively speaking. It's really the smart thing to do--when you guess something to be in the middle, you'll be more accurate in the long run than if you shot for an extreme. But I still don't like it much.

Honus Wagner Rules
02-01-2005, 08:18 PM
The problem though is that each individual player is a small subset of the total data. Players are not robots each player succeeds or fails for different reasons. Granted we are not all one of kind beings meaning that at some point we can divide people into groups but at smaller pools of players those groups can be hidden. I don't know if that was understood or not. I guess an example would BP's Pecota projections. They don't just look at the numbers but also look at a players size, height, build, injury history, and style of play to see if they can find similar players to create a trend line. This segment of baseball analysis is one of Bill Jame's favorite aspects of the game. He is always putting players into groups based on common characteristics. He is always comparing rookies who had comparable initial seasons and seeing why the two diverged.

Right now in terms of Japanese translations we have a very very small group of Japanese players coming to America, a very small group of major leaguers going to Japan, and a small group of minor leaguers going and coming back to America. Are these translations reliable? I don't know, probably in a ballpark sort of way. Are they as reliable as MLE's? Probably not even close, simply because there is so small a sample group that even a handful of bad reads will skew the result. Whereas MLE's can weather a handful of bad reads because they deal with hundreds of cases every year. IF you have a groupd of 20 players and were told that 5 of there translations (but not told which ones)were horribly off you would probably have no confidence in any of the translations. You would probably try to find another tool to pick players. Whereas if you 500 players and were told that 20 were horribly off you would still have a high confidence level in the overall numbers.

Good post. :)

cubbieinexile
02-01-2005, 08:26 PM
You mean that when the overall sample size is small, the sub-groups are sometimes too small to see? And since we're talking people, not cogs, the sub-groups are requisite to understand the players more effectively? If so, I'd agree with you on both counts. That also makes my initial analogy of flipping a coin somewhat ludicrous, but oh well.

Aside: Pecota projections are odd things. They're always guessing the player to have an average year, comparatively speaking. It's really the smart thing to do--when you guess something to be in the middle, you'll be more accurate in the long run than if you shot for an extreme. But I still don't like it much.

Yep, you pretty much said it better then I could. Thank you for that.

As for PECOTA I don't even look at it for much the same reason you say. Everyone is averaged and they give you a percentage chance of it being higher or lower. I have never been big on projections systems, I have never liked the unknown. I have always liked looking back into history and measuring what was done not what could be done.

I use the PECOTA as an example because I like the fact that they don't just lump everybody into groups based on numbers alone.

Be The Reds!
03-21-2005, 11:24 PM
Oh is racist and arrogant.

As the manager of the Hawks, he deliberately instructs his pitchers to walk anyone coming close to his HR record, even if it means walking in the winning run for the other team.

2 people have managed to tie his record, but both Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera would have broken it had they not faced the Hawks at the end of the seasons which they tied it.

As someone who wasn't fully accepted by the Japanese he has the nerve to discriminate against non-Asian foreigners.

cubbieinexile
03-22-2005, 08:18 AM
I think it is a little presumptious to call him a rascist simply because he holds his record in high esteem. Now then if an Asian gets close to the record and he doesn't pitch around him you might have something. Otherwise its just another baseball player holding on to past glory or following the book.

moviegeekjan
03-22-2005, 08:26 AM
I think it is a little presumptious to call him a rascist simply because he holds his record in high esteem. More than a "little" ...

jalbright
03-22-2005, 12:23 PM
I have to agree with the last two posters about the "racist" tag--it's over the top. Nonetheless, while I am definitely an admirer of Oh's, his behavior in this one area does not reflect well on him. Here's what I said to another person about the incidents:


I'm aware of the cases of Bass, Cabrera, and Rhodes and I agree they do not reflect well on Oh. He tried a fig leaf of saying his pitching coach ordered the walks against these players, but since he never to my knowledge disciplined anyone over it, that story won't wash. It clearly shows he is a competitor who desperately wants to hang on to that single season home run record. His behavior still is petty and beneath him, but other than this and a very murky sign stealing allegation, his record as a sportsman and ambassador of the sport is quite good. I think these aspects balance the scales at the very least.

I wish Oh could grasp something Bill James wrote about Babe Ruth losing the single season and career records. Of course, Oh will retain the career mark in NPB for the foreseeable future, which to my mind only emphasizes the point I am about to make. James wrote that once "Ruth's records" were held by others, people began to look at his overall record--and there is none better in the history of the majors. If Oh loses the single season record, people will focus on the career record and may look a little at the overall record--and there's none better in Japanese baseball history. That should be more than good enough for anyone. Single season marks are far more vulnerable than the career HR mark, and that in turn is more vulnerable than the overall broad based excellence which makes Oh Japan's best.

Back to the discussion of Oh and Cooperstown: where do we draw the line on morality? Cap Anson and Ty Cobb are notable as racists, Babe Ruth was a womanizer of epic proportions even though he was married, the Lord himself only knows how many HOFers were alcoholics, Orlando Cepeda trafficked in drugs, Gaylord Perry frequently threw an illegal pitch (the spitter) and all of them are in. Pete Rose is out because of betting problems that mandated he be banned for at least a time, but many, myself included, believe he no longer should be being punished. Some even want to pardon Joe Jackson, who was by his own admission (under oath, no less) at least complicit in the fixing of the World Series, for heaven's sake. Jackson can rot as far as I'm concerned, and maybe Cepeda bothers me, but beyond that I'm not troubled by the idea that these men are honored by the HOF for their exploits on the field. Jackson clearly knew about the fix, did nothing to stop it and may have even participated, so I'm not going to give him a pass. Drug dealing is far more offensive than Oh's petty transgressions, I'm sure you'd agree. Frankly, to me even Perry's cheating with the spitter is less in the spirit of fair play than Oh's refusal to let his pitchers give Bass, Cabrera and Rhodes a chance to break his single season HR record.

The bottom line is, all of these "heroes" are men blessed with tremendous athletic talent and are just as human as the rest of us in all other respects. Some are very good men, some not. Most, like Oh, fall somewhere in between. Short of Joe Jackson-like actions which would make the game nothing more than pro wrestling, I'm not keen on trying to impose moral standards here. After all we're honoring baseball players, not evaluating people for sainthood. It's hard enough to evaluate what happened on the field in some cases without getting into such philosophical issues. It seems that the HOF implicitly agrees, given the characters who have been honored.

Jim Albright

jalbright
03-22-2005, 12:36 PM
Right now in terms of Japanese translations we have a very very small group of Japanese players coming to America, a very small group of major leaguers going to Japan, and a small group of minor leaguers going and coming back to America. Are these translations reliable? I don't know, probably in a ballpark sort of way. Are they as reliable as MLE's? Probably not even close, simply because there is so small a sample group that even a handful of bad reads will skew the result. Whereas MLE's can weather a handful of bad reads because they deal with hundreds of cases every year. IF you have a groupd of 20 players and were told that 5 of there translations (but not told which ones)were horribly off you would probably have no confidence in any of the translations. You would probably try to find another tool to pick players. Whereas if you 500 players and were told that 20 were horribly off you would still have a high confidence level in the overall numbers.

My own conversion for Oh's major league performance is based on those players who played in the major leagues and then played in Oh's Central League in the years Oh did, 1960 to 1980. I used all such players, but if he had only 4 MLB AB, he was prorated to the same number in Japan, and vice versa. When all is said and done, there are over 23,800 AB--by the same group of players, each getting the same number of AB in each league. That's over 4 full team/season's worth of data in each league. It may not give us perfect guidance, but it sure should be enough to put us very much in the right neighborhood--and isn't that what we're looking for in a projection?

What I use for modern Japanese players is over 40,000 matched AB in the 1990's into the early 2000's using the same technique. I daresay that overall for hitters those projections have performed rather well--at least as well as season to season comparisons for actual major leaguers.

Jim Albright

Be The Reds!
03-22-2005, 04:34 PM
OH doesn't belong in cooperstown because cooperstown is the National baseball hall of fame, meaning the USA. Oh didn't play in the US.

Also he's a racist. It's not a little presumptuous.

cubbieinexile
03-22-2005, 04:39 PM
So your translations are based on only 24,000 AB's spread out over 20 years? A little over a thousand at bats a year. Doesn't sound like much to me. Plus how many of those at bats were taken from 1960-1965, 1961-1966, so on and so on? Were the majority of at bats happening in the 1970's? Were they spread out? As the years went on did one side get progressively better and the other side progressively worse? And if so is that factored into the stats? How many of those 23,800 at bats were by players who had less then 100 at bats on either side? How many on both sides?

cubbieinexile
03-22-2005, 04:46 PM
OH doesn't belong in cooperstown because cooperstown is the National baseball hall of fame, meaning the USA. Oh didn't play in the US.

Also he's a racist. It's not a little presumptuous.


Why is he a rascist? If the only reason is because he pitched around 2 batters and there is no other proof that it is a lot more then just a little. Now if you have Oh on record saying rascist things then you might have something. Do you have anything besides pitching around two players who were attempting to break the home run record?

Scale of racial tension.

0- Acceptance
1- Tolerance
2- Prejudice
3- Bigot
4- Rascist

To me its a long way to go to the bottom of that list and unless you have something more concrete then free passes I don't think Oh has earned a level 4.

Be The Reds!
03-22-2005, 05:37 PM
Why is he a rascist? If the only reason is because he pitched around 2 batters and there is no other proof that it is a lot more then just a little. Now if you have Oh on record saying rascist things then you might have something. Do you have anything besides pitching around two players who were attempting to break the home run record?

Scale of racial tension.

0- Acceptance
1- Tolerance
2- Prejudice
3- Bigot
4- Rascist

To me its a long way to go to the bottom of that list and unless you have something more concrete then free passes I don't think Oh has earned a level 4.

For one, being proud that the Giants he played for were able to be sucessful without integrating (or being the last team to integrate).

Wishing Hideki Matsui luck in breaking the single season HR record in the same year he pitched around Alex Cabrera... (Matsui was pretty close behind Rhodes and Cabrera that year until the end of the season...)

I'm not trying to say that Oh is the most racist of racist Japanese people ever, or that he's anything compared to Tokyo's Mayor Ishihara.

But he doesn't want his record cheapened by being broken by a foreigner.

If the Sisler's daugther were to say something like, I don't want my dad's record to go to a Jap, people would scream racism and everyone would agree.

Oh however is in a position where he actively can ensure his record is protected against foreigners, by intentionally walking them in dubious situations (bottom of the 9th, tie game, bases loaded). All the while encouraging Matsui to break his record.

Saying that he doesn't want his record to go to a gaijin. (Which doesn't really just mean foreigner...)

jalbright
03-22-2005, 06:31 PM
So your translations are based on only 24,000 AB's spread out over 20 years? A little over a thousand at bats a year. Doesn't sound like much to me. Plus how many of those at bats were taken from 1960-1965, 1961-1966, so on and so on? Were the majority of at bats happening in the 1970's? Were they spread out? As the years went on did one side get progressively better and the other side progressively worse? And if so is that factored into the stats? How many of those 23,800 at bats were by players who had less then 100 at bats on either side? How many on both sides?

I'm not going to get into that minutae--but if you want the spreadsheet that has everything but the homers, I'll send it to you and you can do what you want with it. However, I did not break it down season by season--it was quite enough work as it was.

I didn't say it was perfect, and more AB probably would refine things--but it's what evidence is available. If you have a better technique, I'm all ears.

Besides, I think the most impressive part of the argument for Oh is how the projection is certainly no more optimistic in its indications of what Oh could do than both his performance against good major league pitching (albeit in Japanese parks) and the subjective opinions of major league baseball people who actually saw him play.

Jim Albright

jalbright
03-22-2005, 06:45 PM
OH doesn't belong in cooperstown because cooperstown is the National baseball hall of fame, meaning the USA. Oh didn't play in the US.

One more recitation of that pearl of wisdom about the "National" Hall of Fame as though it really meant something. If Cooperstown stopped acting as though it had all the greatest players despite at least tacitly following the policy you apparently are advocating, it might not bother me so much. But they do--and they are full of crap when they do it. Anyway, I'll use my standard response to this line of argument below:

The “National” Hall of Fame

The last argument against Oh we will address is the argument that Cooperstown is the National Hall of Fame and is limited to those who have contributed to the game in North America. First of all, no one in the debate has yet cited anything beyond the name of the institution as proof there is any formal restriction on who the Hall of Fame may honor. Second, even if such a restriction exists, it certainly can be changed about as easily and rapidly as the sudden decision to allow Negro Leaguers to be honored on an equal basis with white major leaguers. Third, the Hall should honor all the best players in the game, no matter where they played or who they played against, because they all have helped to make it the great game it is. Fourth, the game is becoming increasingly international in scope. In 2002, nearly a quarter of the major leaguers were born outside the 50 states. Seventeen different countries are represented in the majors, and a total of 31 in the minors. About half of all minor leaguers were born outside the 50 states. We now have major league all-stars from the Orient, and undoubtedly we will have more. We even allow those outside North America to vote for the major league all-star teams. Under such circumstances, the “National” argument seems to me to be hopelessly parochial and possibly even self-defeating. It certainly looks hypocritical to promote diversity on one hand while denying the game’s highest honor to foreigners who have been subjected to the major leagues being an accomplice in keeping them out of the majors. Even honoring the players in Japanese baseball history who are worthy of Cooperstown seems to be inadequate compensation for siphoning off at least some of Japan’s elite players. Maybe the Japanese wouldn’t have come even if they were given a realistic opportunity to do so, but to deny them plaques in Cooperstown solely on such speculative reasoning is plainly ridiculous.

Furthermore, Oh has had a tremendous influence on Japanese baseball as its greatest player, as its goodwill ambassador, and as a successful manager. He came into contact with many major leaguers, and his career has touched present day major league managers like Jim Tracy, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel and Bobby Valentine. Isn’t it likely Ichiro learned something from Oh, whether as a youngster or as an opponent of Oh’s teams, or some other way? Oh’s influence upon major league baseball may be small today, but that influence will almost surely grow with the increased influx of Japanese players. Also, listen to Steve Garvey: “ I learned a lot . . . from Sadaharu Oh. I spent some time with him in spring training in 1971, and again in ’75 and ’79. He always talked about the use of his legs as the single biggest asset to his power . . . . You’ve got to use your whole body to hit the ball effectively, not just your arms. That’s the difference between a power hitter and a slap hitter.” I might add that Hideki Matsui tried to pattern his swing after Oh's teachings in a book in Japanese by Oh, though without the leg lift.

The “National” argument is at best a dinosaur doomed to extinction by the existing trend toward international growth in the game. Eventually, the majors will have a permanent presence in Japan, and at that point, baseball will need to please its Japanese fans. When that occurs, the “National” argument will surely fall. It may hold sway until that time, but it is only staving off its eventual losing fate.

Jim Albright

leecemark
03-22-2005, 06:47 PM
--Jim, I didn't understand that part of your MLB projections before. To be sure I do now, your projections are based on facing major league pitching, but NOT in major league parks? So Oh would still be hittting in the same small parks he actually hit his 800 HR? That makes a huge difference in his likely HR totals if I'm getting it right now.

jalbright
03-22-2005, 07:03 PM
cubbieinexile:

The reason I can't give homers is I did that earlier by hand, and have since lost the papers on which it was done. My sense is that the records were pretty evenly spread out over the period, and did not show much if any dramatic change. BTW, the offer of the spreadsheets extends to anyone who contacts me by private message through this site.

I can tell you that when the Oh numbers are compared to the numbers of more recent times, the Japanese homers have risen relative to the majors despite larger Japanese parks and a major league trend toward more homer friendly parks. However, where players in Japan used to walk less in Oh's day than in the majors, they now walk more. This is probably a function of changes in pitcher usage. When a guy's pitching 400 innings in a 130 game season, he'll be better off if he can get balls in play quickly.

There's no question there's a huge difference in home run data. Even today, there's about 60% as many homers per AB in the majors as in Japan. Adjusting for the shorter Japanese season might bring the number up to 70% of NPB seasonal totals or so, but that's it. In Oh's day, it was closer to 52% of homers per AB in the majors, and might have gotten as close as 65% of actual NPB seasonal totals, as seasons then were usually 130 games, and they've been around 140 lately. So the differences in the numbers are not pronounced. Japanese players have seemingly closed the gap in HR rates to a small degree despite factors which should have increased the gap--though it's hard to quantify how much.

Jim Albright

Be The Reds!
03-22-2005, 07:13 PM
One more recitation of that pearl of wisdom about the "National" Hall of Fame as though it really meant something. If Cooperstown stopped acting as though it had all the greatest players despite at least tacitly following the policy you apparently are advocating, it might not bother me so much. But they do--and they are full of crap when they do it. Anyway, I'll use my standard response to this line of argument below:

The “National” Hall of Fame

The last argument against Oh we will address is the argument that Cooperstown is the National Hall of Fame and is limited to those who have contributed to the game in North America. First of all, no one in the debate has yet cited anything beyond the name of the institution as proof there is any formal restriction on who the Hall of Fame may honor. Second, even if such a restriction exists, it certainly can be changed about as easily and rapidly as the sudden decision to allow Negro Leaguers to be honored on an equal basis with white major leaguers. Third, the Hall should honor all the best players in the game, no matter where they played or who they played against, because they all have helped to make it the great game it is. Fourth, the game is becoming increasingly international in scope. In 2002, nearly a quarter of the major leaguers were born outside the 50 states. Seventeen different countries are represented in the majors, and a total of 31 in the minors. About half of all minor leaguers were born outside the 50 states. We now have major league all-stars from the Orient, and undoubtedly we will have more. We even allow those outside North America to vote for the major league all-star teams. Under such circumstances, the “National” argument seems to me to be hopelessly parochial and possibly even self-defeating. It certainly looks hypocritical to promote diversity on one hand while denying the game’s highest honor to foreigners who have been subjected to the major leagues being an accomplice in keeping them out of the majors. Even honoring the players in Japanese baseball history who are worthy of Cooperstown seems to be inadequate compensation for siphoning off at least some of Japan’s elite players. Maybe the Japanese wouldn’t have come even if they were given a realistic opportunity to do so, but to deny them plaques in Cooperstown solely on such speculative reasoning is plainly ridiculous.

Furthermore, Oh has had a tremendous influence on Japanese baseball as its greatest player, as its goodwill ambassador, and as a successful manager. He came into contact with many major leaguers, and his career has touched present day major league managers like Jim Tracy, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel and Bobby Valentine. Isn’t it likely Ichiro learned something from Oh, whether as a youngster or as an opponent of Oh’s teams, or some other way? Oh’s influence upon major league baseball may be small today, but that influence will almost surely grow with the increased influx of Japanese players. Also, listen to Steve Garvey: “ I learned a lot . . . from Sadaharu Oh. I spent some time with him in spring training in 1971, and again in ’75 and ’79. He always talked about the use of his legs as the single biggest asset to his power . . . . You’ve got to use your whole body to hit the ball effectively, not just your arms. That’s the difference between a power hitter and a slap hitter.” I might add that Hideki Matsui tried to pattern his swing after Oh's teachings in a book in Japanese by Oh, though without the leg lift.

The “National” argument is at best a dinosaur doomed to extinction by the existing trend toward international growth in the game. Eventually, the majors will have a permanent presence in Japan, and at that point, baseball will need to please its Japanese fans. When that occurs, the “National” argument will surely fall. It may hold sway until that time, but it is only staving off its eventual losing fate.

Jim Albright

First, the HOF isn't controlled by MLB and to appease its fans, MLB can't alter the qualifications for entering the HOF. Only the people in control of the HOF can do that... though I'm sure they are very open to suggestion.

Second, as for JApanese players going in as players...Put Nomo and Ichiro or any other Japanese player who has or will play 10 years in the Majors and made a significant impact. Oh didn't take a single at bat in the majors, thus he can't go in as a player.

He can probably go in as "The father of real Japanese baseball" or whatever other titles they like to give to guys who go in who never played, or for guys who go in for other reasons besides being a player.

And I'll ask you, how many non-Japanese players are there in the Japanese baseball hall of fame, even if they have played in the Japanese leagues?

The only two non Japanese inductees are
Horace Wilson, for introducing baseball to Japan in 1872
and Frank O doole, for taking the San Francisco Seals on a tour of Japan in the 30's and cementing the popularity of baseball.

End of argument.

jalbright
03-22-2005, 07:13 PM
--Jim, I didn't understand that part of your MLB projections before. To be sure I do now, your projections are based on facing major league pitching, but NOT in major league parks? So Oh would still be hittting in the same small parks he actually hit his 800 HR? That makes a huge difference in his likely HR totals if I'm getting it right now.

Let me try to be clear: The adjustment factors are meant to account for two factors which I cannot separate: the differences in parks and pitching. I am taking the same exact hitters in the same exact number of AB in Japanese parks against Japanese pitching as AB in major league parks against major league pitching. That's 23,800 in each case for Oh.

I think the confusion may have arisen when I mentioned how Oh performed against actual major league pitchers (actually a well above average group of them from what I see) who toured Japan for exhibitions. I did not use these numbers for any projections. However, in Oh's case, the numbers against the major leaguers are similar, though a little better (not surprisingly given smaller parks) than what my projection comes up with.

Hope this clears things up.

Jim Albright

Jim Albright

leecemark
03-22-2005, 07:22 PM
--Jim, Sorry to belabor the point, but I want to make sure I understand exactly what your projections are intended to mean. Your MLB projection numbers for Oh are what you think he would have done had in played in the majors, against MLB pitchers and in MLB parks. That he actually did slightly better in his exhibition games vs MLB pitchers in JL parks reinforces your belief that you are on the right track with your projections. Do I have that correct now?
Thanks, Mark

jalbright
03-22-2005, 07:45 PM
First, the HOF isn't controlled by MLB and to appease its fans, MLB can't alter the qualifications for entering the HOF. Only the people in control of the HOF can do that... though I'm sure they are very open to suggestion.

Second, as for JApanese players going in as players...Put Nomo and Ichiro or any other Japanese player who has or will play 10 years in the Majors and made a significant impact. Oh didn't take a single at bat in the majors, thus he can't go in as a player.

He can probably go in as "The father of real Japanese baseball" or whatever other titles they like to give to guys who go in who never played, or for guys who go in for other reasons besides being a player.

And I'll ask you, how many non-Japanese players are there in the Japanese baseball hall of fame, even if they have played in the Japanese leagues?

End of argument.

Geez, I thought neither of us is on the Hall of Fame's Board of Directors, but by your tone, I'm beginning to wonder. The point is, they can change the rules from what they currently are to what I suggest they should be rather easily if they want to. No question that for the forseeable future, they won't want to make the change I think they should.

Actually, Lefty O'Doul has been inducted into the Japanese Hall for the tours of major leaguers he arranged. Victor Starffin, a Russian who played there is in, as are two Japanese-Americans, Wally Yonamine and Tadashi Wakabayashi. There's a fifteen year wait for everybody to get in, and it's even more if you're in uniform as a coach when that time is reached. Randy Bass came within two votes last year of making it despite playing only six years there--and the circumstances of his departure from the Japanese game left some hard feelings on both sides--though I think Bass had the right to expect that the Hanshin club would keep its word--and he had to do what he could to keep his child alive and remain fiscally solvent.

Bobby Rose won't be eligible for about another decade, but he'll deserve serious consideration whern that time comes. Tuffy Rhodes is still active and will also deserve great consideration when he's eligible. Beyond that, Americans have had limited impact primarily because few stayed even five years. The difference is, the Japanese Hall is advertised and conducts itself as a purely Japanese affair. Heck, guys who were stars only at the high school or collegiate level in Japan have been inducted. Cooperstown's own mission statement talks about a "global audience" and it likes to pretend it has all the greatest players, despite excluding Japanese players, some worthy Negro Leaguers, not to mention some of their own horrible selections.

If you intend to argue that simply because Japan's Hall doesn't honor many Americans, we shouldn't honor Japanese players, you'll be using a red herring IMO. That idea is based on what I can only describe as a childish approach--they won't let us in, so we won't let them in, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nah. Who cares how Japan approaches its Hall? I care about how Cooperstown does things. If Cooperstown drops the crap about a "global audience" and stops pretending that it has all the greatest players in the world in it as opposed to the greatest to play x number of years in North America, I'll stop pushing for Japanese players. However, so long as they keep acting like that and I draw breath, I will advocate what I have advocated here.

Jim Albright

jalbright
03-22-2005, 07:48 PM
--Jim, Sorry to belabor the point, but I want to make sure I understand exactly what your projections are intended to mean. Your MLB projection numbers for Oh are what you think he would have done had in played in the majors, against MLB pitchers and in MLB parks. That he actually did slightly better in his exhibition games vs MLB pitchers in JL parks reinforces your belief that you are on the right track with your projections. Do I have that correct now?
Thanks, Mark

I don't know that I could have said it any better. Right on the nose!

Be The Reds!
03-22-2005, 09:47 PM
If you intend to argue that simply because Japan's Hall doesn't honor many Americans, we shouldn't honor Japanese players, you'll be using a red herring IMO. That idea is based on what I can only describe as a childish approach--they won't let us in, so we won't let them in, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nah.
Sigh, no that's not what I was advocating. I was offering a comparison.
Japan's Hall doesn't honor foreign players who played in its own leagues, and you want Cooperstown to break already established rules to allow Oh, a player who never took an MLB at bat, into the hall of fame because of speculation that he may have inspired people like Ichiro and Nomo.

We should honor the Japanese players who played in the Major leagues for ten or more years and had exceptional careers and/or were pioneers.



Who cares how Japan approaches its Hall? I care about how Cooperstown does things. If Cooperstown drops the crap about a "global audience" and stops pretending that it has all the greatest players in the world in it as opposed to the greatest to play x number of years in North America, I'll stop pushing for Japanese players. However, so long as they keep acting like that and I draw breath, I will advocate what I have advocated here.

Jim Albright


The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of the game and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience, as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our National Pastime.


It doesn't say anything about honoring the greatest ever players in the world. It says more about what impact the people have had on American baseball, and as the majority of the enshrined athletes in Cooperstown are MLB players, and as the MLB is the top level of baseball in the World, it's only natural that they would want that collection to be available to a global audience.


Oh does not belong in the Hall of fame as a player, because he didn't play Major League baseball. Period.

He may be the greatest player to ever play the game, but he didn't play the game in America, so he doesn't belong in America's hall of fame as a player.

He may have done a lot to inspire players and fans ALL OVER THE WORLD during his playing career, but he did not play Major League Baseball, thus he can't go in as a player.

moviegeekjan
03-22-2005, 11:22 PM
We should honor the Japanese players who played in the Major leagues for ten or more years and had exceptional careers and/or were pioneers..
While "10" is a nice round figure that the media generally rallies around, why set that particular figure... It's not like the HOF hasn't bent that number previously (Monte Irvin played 6 years in the majors while Satchel Paige played 6 partial seasons).




Oh does not belong in the Hall of fame as a player, because he didn't play Major League baseball. Period.

He may be the greatest player to ever play the game, but he didn't play the game in America, so he doesn't belong in America's hall of fame as a player.

He may have done a lot to inspire players and fans ALL OVER THE WORLD during his playing career, but he did not play Major League Baseball, thus he can't go in as a player. Semantics here. Is the HOF at Cooperstown only for Major League Baseball, American baseball, or all of baseball?

It would appear that it presently honors baseball on American soil since it has a wing devoted to the Negro Leagues (as well as honoring a few individuals in the main hallway of plaques from the Negro Leagues that never played MLB). It also has a wall that recognizes women players.

But what if the museum decided to expand its present definition to reflect a more worldwide view of baseball? That is the question being asked.

Similar issues arise when declaring the winner of the World Series "the World Champion" since that team doesn't compete with the champions from the other leagues around the world.

jalbright
03-23-2005, 11:31 AM
Well, BeTheReds, it's obvious you're happy with the status quo, I'm not. It's an age-old conflict, one which will never go away, no matter how much either of us would like it to.

For further information on "foreigners" in the Japanese Hall of Fame, we can include two Taiwanese, Shosei Go and Hiroshi Oshita. There are also two guys born in Japan to Korean parents, which I beleive made them Korean under Japanese lawat least in their time: Masaichi Kaneda and Isao Harimoto, two of the ten best players in Japanese history.


Cubbieinexile:

You may not be impressed with 23,800 AB in Japan matched to the same number in the majors, but consider the following: I chose to limit it to Oh's league and time to avoid any possibility of differences from irrelevant times and leagues polluting the data. The Central League has been a six team league since the early fifties, and remains so. In Oh's day, most of the seasons were 130 games in the CL--and Oh's manager, Tetsuharu Kawakami, chose to use only Asian players on his roster. So that leaves five teams. There were and remain restrictions on the number of foreigners who may be on Japanese rosters. I believe in Oh's day it was at least usually two. Some of those players pitched, and I didn't consider them because for purposes of studying position players, I don't care what pitchers hit. So if I could have used all the possible at bats by gaijin position players, it would have had to have been less than one team's worth of hitters per year, and in a 130 game season. Add to that the restriction of matching the numbers of AB to control as much as possible for the issue of talent, and 1200 or so AB a year isn't bad at all. Certainly, under these circumstances it is hard to have huge fluctuations in the numbers of AB season to season.

Jim Albright

Be The Reds!
03-23-2005, 05:25 PM
While "10" is a nice round figure that the media generally rallies around, why set that particular figure... It's not like the HOF hasn't bent that number previously (Monte Irvin played 6 years in the majors while Satchel Paige played 6 partial seasons).


Semantics here. Is the HOF at Cooperstown only for Major League Baseball, American baseball, or all of baseball?

American baseball at its highest level, MLB and the Negro Leagues... (because blacks couldn't play in MLB) If a rival league were to spring up and we were to see an exodous of players, then it wouldn't be too hard to believe that the HOF would have to allow players of that league into the HOF too.



But what if the museum decided to expand its present definition to reflect a more worldwide view of baseball? That is the question being asked.

Well, then it would cease to be the National Baseball Hall of Fame and become the International Baseball Hall of Fame. In which case, Oh goes in first ballot!



Similar issues arise when declaring the winner of the World Series "the World Champion" since that team doesn't compete with the champions from the other leagues around the world.

Well, the idea is that MLB is the greatest baseball leagues by far, (which they are), and the championship team from MLB would trounce the champion from other leagues, (Which they probably would).

I'd even argue that the worst team in MLB could hold its own against the best in NPB.

Either way, that's an entirely different issue altogether, and is MLB's problem, not the HOF's.

Be The Reds!
03-23-2005, 05:31 PM
Well, BeTheReds, it's obvious you're happy with the status quo, I'm not. It's an age-old conflict, one which will never go away, no matter how much either of us would like it to.

For further information on "foreigners" in the Japanese Hall of Fame, we can include two Taiwanese, Shosei Go and Hiroshi Oshita. There are also two guys born in Japan to Korean parents, which I beleive made them Korean under Japanese lawat least in their time: Masaichi Kaneda and Isao Harimoto, two of the ten best players in Japanese history.


#1, those players are as UN-Japanese as Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro are UN-American, only Japanese citizenship was witheld from them and their families because of the reluctance of JApanese to ease their citizenship requirements for koreans and chinese trapped in Japan after WW2. So yes, by citizenship, they were foreigners when they played. If they were true foreigners and weren't conditioned thruout their childhoods to hide their names and ethnic origins (as many overseas Koreans and Chinese in Japan are) don't you think they would have wanted to live, play, and be honored by their true names?

jalbright
03-23-2005, 06:23 PM
American baseball at its highest level, MLB and the Negro Leagues... (because blacks couldn't play in MLB) . . .

Well, then it would cease to be the National Baseball Hall of Fame and become the International Baseball Hall of Fame. In which case, Oh goes in first ballot! . . .

I'd even argue that the worst team in MLB could hold its own against the best in NPB.

Either way, that's an entirely different issue altogether, and is MLB's problem, not the HOF's.

I'm glad to see you at least recognize Oh's quality as a player. Japanese players really didn't have the opportunity until recently to come to the majors. Here's what I said in another thread:


Sadaharu Oh has been quoted as saying he would have liked a shot at the majors, but it wasn't going to happen. The major leagues, through the "Working Agreement" with NPB, were complicit in that because they agreed to respect the NPB reserve clause--and NPB teams weren't going to let their players move if they could help it. Certainly, if one sees NPB as a "cage", it was a gilded one, especially compared to the Negro Leagues.

We agree that most years, cellar dwelling major league teams would be competitive with a Japan Series winners. It's getting even harder for Japanese teams now that they're losing guys like Ichiro and H. Matsui to the majors.

We also agree that the Hall can take its own path. I'm saying that it would be great if Cooperstown got out in front on what I see as forward thinking for once, though I doubt they'll do anything but follow on this one.

Jim Albright

cubbieinexile
03-23-2005, 09:25 PM
You may not be impressed with 23,800 AB in Japan matched to the same number in the majors, but consider the following: I chose to limit it to Oh's league and time to avoid any possibility of differences from irrelevant times and leagues polluting the data. The Central League has been a six team league since the early fifties, and remains so. In Oh's day, most of the seasons were 130 games in the CL--and Oh's manager, Tetsuharu Kawakami, chose to use only Asian players on his roster. So that leaves five teams. There were and remain restrictions on the number of foreigners who may be on Japanese rosters. I believe in Oh's day it was at least usually two. Some of those players pitched, and I didn't consider them because for purposes of studying position players, I don't care what pitchers hit. So if I could have used all the possible at bats by gaijin position players, it would have had to have been less than one team's worth of hitters per year, and in a 130 game season. Add to that the restriction of matching the numbers of AB to control as much as possible for the issue of talent, and 1200 or so AB a year isn't bad at all. Certainly, under these circumstances it is hard to have huge fluctuations in the numbers of AB season to season.

Jim Albright

My question about the at bats have more to do with the spread of the at bats. For instance there might only be 200 at bats that occurred in 1961 but 3,000 at bats in 1979. There might be 3 players getting a total of 300 at bats in 1962 but 20 players getting 6,000 at bats in 1980. In 1960 there might be 4 players who went to Japan with a total of 250 at bats in the Majors while in 1980 it was 25 players with a total of 12,000 at bats.

I am not calling into question your data or your findings because quite simply i don't have the info to be able to agree or dispute your findings. I am just curious as to what the spread of those 24,000 at bats were.

Be The Reds!
03-23-2005, 09:59 PM
I'm glad to see you at least recognize Oh's quality as a player. Japanese players really didn't have the opportunity until recently to come to the majors. Here's what I said in another thread:



While they didn't have the opportunity because of the restrictions NPB put on free agency in their own league, that's not MLB's fault.

In contrast he racist thinking and practices that kept blacks out of MLB is MLB's fault, thus the Negro Leagues players deserve to be honored in the same light as MLB players.


Yea, you're punishing individual Japanese players given this stance, but your'e also punishing the Japanese owners for their stubbornness, and Japan in general for allowing the owners to keep the players from doing what they want to.

Why are there no Japanese in the HOF right now? It's the selfish NPB owners' fault.


Here's a list of players I believe should go into the hall of fame...
For either being "firsts", "pioneers", "having exceptional careers", or some combination of the three.

1. Masanori Murakami (Giants, 1960's)- for playing in the Majors during that era where NPB was a cage. While he only played two years, that's 2 years more than Oh. Perhaps he doesn't deserve to get in as a player, by virtue of not playing 10 years in the majors, but he at least deserves recognition.

2. Hideo Nomo (Lots of teams, 1990's, 2000's) - The true pioneer that started the exodous of Japan's greatest to MLB

3. Ichiro Suzuki - If he can actually last 10 years, he's already done enough in his short MLB career to go into the HOF. Even if he doesn't last 10 years, I'd reccomend that the HOF make a special exception in Ichiro's case.

4. Hideki Matsui, maybe - Well, his career is far from exceptional so far, but he has lots of time left. He was the highest profile free agent coming out of Japan (possibly moreso than Ichiro) and unfortunately, by playing for the Yankees, and playing well for them (god I hate them, but have to respect what they mean to baseball) he has increased the visibility of Japanese in the Majors.

5. Chan Ho Park... is the first Korean in the Majors. He deserves to be recognized for that even if he is simply an average pitcher. Most americans unfortunately don't know the difference between Japan and Korea, and most of the writers who can vote probably will pass on Park, even though he represents so much for Koreans and Korean Baseball.

cubbieinexile
03-23-2005, 10:18 PM
The restrictions are not unilateral. It isn't only the Japanese keeping the Japanese players from playing ball in America. It is the Americans agreeing to honor these restrictions as well. Just like the Japanese honor the restrictions the Americans put on American players.

Is this different then the Negro Leagues? Of course it is, in that situation an entire group is disallowed without any input from them, while in this situation both groups agree to the segregation. But of course that does not mean that individuals are free from being victims, only the organizations are free from that.

Wouldn't the true pioneer be Nomo's agent? The one that found the loophole. Afterall nobody comes over unless the loophole is their, not even Nomo. Even after Nomo the floodgates don't open because the loophole is closed. If anything it is Sasaki and Ichiro that open the floodgates. After Nomo you have what Irabu a couple of years later and nothing until Kaz. After Kaz come Ichiro, Shinjo, and everybody else. I count 22 Japanese players who have played in the Majors starting from Hideo Nomo at 1995, in 1997 you get three more pitchers, all of which is probably because of Nomo. Two are busts with one being an infamous and damaging bust while the third did nothing to really increase the flood of talent. Then in 2000 Sasaki comes over and the presence of Japanese players in MLB balloons.

Be The Reds!
03-23-2005, 10:27 PM
The restrictions are not unilateral. It isn't only the Japanese keeping the Japanese players from playing ball in America. It is the Americans agreeing to honor these restrictions as well.



Wait, what do you mean? That American owners are at fault for not going after players under contract with Japanese teams, or not buying their contracts out?

Players who don't want to be restricted by NPB can join the Majors foregoing any NPB step.

Once you've signed a contract with an NPB team it is legally binding that you abide by it, unless they release you or you retire. Are you suggesting that a high profile Japanese player just up and says, to heck with my 4 remaining years in my contract, I'm going to MLB seeya!

Not only is that illegal.. well.... it's illegal.

Be The Reds!
03-23-2005, 10:29 PM
Wouldn't the true pioneer be Nomo's agent? The one that found the loophole. Afterall nobody comes over unless the loophole is their, not even Nomo. Even after Nomo the floodgates don't open because the loophole is closed. If anything it is Sasaki and Ichiro that open the floodgates. After Nomo you have what Irabu a couple of years later and nothing until Kaz. After Kaz come Ichiro, Shinjo, and everybody else. I count 22 Japanese players who have played in the Majors starting from Hideo Nomo at 1995, in 1997 you get three more pitchers, all of which is probably because of Nomo. Two are busts with one being an infamous and damaging bust while the third did nothing to really increase the flood of talent. Then in 2000 Sasaki comes over and the presence of Japanese players in MLB balloons.


Hmm, that's a good point, but in most people's view, and in the comomn Japanese view, Nomo was the pioneer for motivating other JApanese players to want to come to the majors. Kaz et al probably wouldn't have even thought of it had Nomo not done it first.

jalbright
03-24-2005, 07:45 AM
My question about the at bats have more to do with the spread of the at bats. For instance there might only be 200 at bats that occurred in 1961 but 3,000 at bats in 1979. There might be 3 players getting a total of 300 at bats in 1962 but 20 players getting 6,000 at bats in 1980. In 1960 there might be 4 players who went to Japan with a total of 250 at bats in the Majors while in 1980 it was 25 players with a total of 12,000 at bats.

I am not calling into question your data or your findings because quite simply i don't have the info to be able to agree or dispute your findings. I am just curious as to what the spread of those 24,000 at bats were.

Fair enough. I renew my offer of the spreadsheet I have. However, I also told you my sense that there weren't the kinds of fluctuations you are talking about. I've also showed why no season could possibly have more than say 2500-3000 AB in it, and probably less. The lower that number goes, the more even the distribution has to be. If you need more resource material, I can point you in the proper direction on that as well. I just don't intend to go back and derive the answers you raise--but I'll make it so you can get those answers yourself if you want to do the work.

Jim Albright

jalbright
03-24-2005, 07:50 AM
Wait, what do you mean? That American owners are at fault for not going after players under contract with Japanese teams, or not buying their contracts out?

Players who don't want to be restricted by NPB can join the Majors foregoing any NPB step.

Once you've signed a contract with an NPB team it is legally binding that you abide by it, unless they release you or you retire. Are you suggesting that a high profile Japanese player just up and says, to heck with my 4 remaining years in my contract, I'm going to MLB seeya!

Not only is that illegal.. well.... it's illegal.

How about for guys whose contract is up, but the majors still choose to honor the Japanese view of the reserve clause? Kids out of high school and college often aren't sophisticated enough to realize how much they're signing away--and the majors aren't exactly giving them a lot of attention, even today. Once they've signed, they're tied even today for nine or ten years (I think only big club service counts). I think that's where MLB's complicity in this whole thing is still glaring.

jalbright
03-24-2005, 07:52 AM
Hmm, that's a good point, but in most people's view, and in the comomn Japanese view, Nomo was the pioneer for motivating other JApanese players to want to come to the majors. Kaz et al probably wouldn't have even thought of it had Nomo not done it first.

Also, Nomo was the one putting his career on the line, and the one who took the most public heat in the whole matter. Of course, he also got the biggest benefit when he succeeded, but I think it only fair.

Jim Albright

skeletor
03-24-2005, 08:01 AM
It's all moot points, fans...It'll be probably years, players like Oh, will get
consideration to the Hall...perhaps like the olde negro leagues and players
..the majority of players during OH's era in Japan, weren't very good, basically
AA type players....but OH, could have played in the show, and did his thang,
and would have done it well..I had the good fortune of visiting Japan, one
year, and watch him send a couple of balls into orbit...He had very quick
hands and wrists..Pitchers made an mistake to him..like Mantle, it's was
gonesville..Also like Aaron...I think the day is coming when more and more
players from outside the United Snakes, will play in the ML..Canada, Korea,
Australia, Japan, England, eventually, might start sending quality players
to the show..heck, how about a real ' world series?' the American champion
playing the Japenese or Aussie champs ?

cubbieinexile
03-24-2005, 08:24 AM
Wait, what do you mean? That American owners are at fault for not going after players under contract with Japanese teams, or not buying their contracts out?

Players who don't want to be restricted by NPB can join the Majors foregoing any NPB step.

Once you've signed a contract with an NPB team it is legally binding that you abide by it, unless they release you or you retire. Are you suggesting that a high profile Japanese player just up and says, to heck with my 4 remaining years in my contract, I'm going to MLB seeya!

Not only is that illegal.. well.... it's illegal.


The problem as Jim already said is that I can sign a one year contract with a Japanese team and then after that one year is up my contract will be up, but not the service agreement. The rights to me are still owned by the Japanese team for another 8 years. I can't simply say see ya I'm going to America to play ball. Why? Because the American teams have chosen to honor Japan's reserve system. Just like Japan has chosen to honor America's.




After Nomo I believe Japan changed is labor practices. Before Nomo there was no such thing as free agency and teams basically owned you forever. After Nomo they allowed free agency but I believe they closed the retirement loophole.

jalbright
03-24-2005, 01:09 PM
After Nomo I believe Japan changed is labor practices. Before Nomo there was no such thing as free agency and teams basically owned you forever. After Nomo they allowed free agency but I believe they closed the retirement loophole.

Actually, free agency came to Japan in 1993, and Nomo's exit came before the 1995 season. They did try to close the loophole after a few guys went that route, but they didn't notify the majors of the change. So Soriano was able to use the loophole. After that, they went to the posting system, and Ichiro used that means. I think K. Sasaki did before that, but I'm doing it from memory, not any sources.

cubbieinexile:

I should also point out in the discussion we've had about the matched AB I used for Oh that it took a while to compile, and at intervals in the process of doing it, I checked the HR and BA adjustment figures, and they remained fairly consistent. I think I did the HR chronologically and the other alphabetically. Even the more recent figures are fairly consistent with the Oh figures. I just don't think that if you dug into it, you'd find any significant distortion due to timing of the comparisons. But if you don't want to take my word for it and want to see for yourself, let me know and I'll set you up so you can do so.

Jim Albright

jalbright
03-25-2005, 10:36 AM
Japan's Hall doesn't honor foreign players who played in its own leagues, and you want Cooperstown to break already established rules to allow Oh, a player who never took an MLB at bat, into the hall of fame because of speculation that he may have inspired people like Ichiro and Nomo.

Okay, I've covered the guys who are in and Randy Bass. Let's look at this from another perspective. Who among the foreigners, exactly, has earned inclusion in the Japanese Hall, but has been denied it after becoming eligible. Bobby Rose, Tuffy Rhodes, and Roberto Petagine haven't become eligible under the 15 year wait after they finish playing in Japan. The Japanese Hall has, by my count, inducted 70-80 professional players in Japan. If we assume that inductees should at least be close to the 80 best in Japanese baseball history who are eligible, only three other foreigners I'm aware of can come close: LeRon Lee, Boomer Wells, and Warren Cromartie. Frankly, you can make an argument for any of the three, but they're marginal by that standard--and, excluding the Japanese who served Japan in WWII, the Japanese Hall has done a fairly good job of picking the top 80 or so among the eligibles.

So you can't make any strong argument about Japanese bias against foreigners in their Hall, even if it were relevant. However, I strongly argue that what the Japanese Hall does is completely irrelevant to what Cooperstown should do.

We all know that Japanese players who have never played in the majors aren't likely to be inducted into Cooperstown any time soon. But the Negro Leaguers weren't going anywhere until people started championing their cause, either. Granted, the Japanese cause isn't quite as righteous as the Negro Leaguers, but the fact is, the decision was not for Japanese players to make--and the majors were complicit in denying them that option. To me, that plus the high level talent of the very best in Japan are sufficient reason to change the status quo.

Frankly, the hardest part in doing what I want to do is designing a well thought out approach that helps us avoid making more Highpockets Kelly-type mistakes in terms of players inducted to the Hall. But it can be done.

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
03-25-2005, 11:18 AM
Okay, I've covered the guys who are in and Randy Bass. Let's look at this from another perspective. Who among the foreigners, exactly, has earned inclusion in the Japanese Hall, but has been denied it after becoming eligible. Bobby Rose, Tuffy Rhodes, and Roberto Petagine haven't become eligible under the 15 year wait after they finish playing in Japan. The Japanese Hall has, by my count, inducted 70-80 professional players in Japan. If we assume that inductees should at least be close to the 80 best in Japanese baseball history who are eligible, only three other foreigners I'm aware of can come close: LeRon Lee, Boomer Wells, and Warren Cromartie. Frankly, you can make an argument for any of the three, but they're marginal by that standard--and, excluding the Japanese who served Japan in WWII, the Japanese Hall has done a fairly good job of picking the top 80 or so among the eligibles.

So you can't make any strong argument about Japanese bias against foreigners in their Hall, even if it were relevant. However, I strongly argue that what the Japanese Hall does is completely irrelevant to what Cooperstown should do.

We all know that Japanese players who have never played in the majors aren't likely to be inducted into Cooperstown any time soon. But the Negro Leaguers weren't going anywhere until people started championing their cause, either. Granted, the Japanese cause isn't quite as righteous as the Negro Leaguers, but the fact is, the decision was not for Japanese players to make--and the majors were complicit in denying them that option. To me, that plus the high level talent of the very best in Japan are sufficient reason to change the status quo.

Frankly, the hardest part in doing what I want to do is designing a well thought out approach that helps us avoid making more Highpockets Kelly-type mistakes in terms of players inducted to the Hall. But it can be done.

Jim Albright

Ted Williams played a big role in bringing the Negro Leaguers HoF cause to the forefront. He spoke on the subject quite passionately in his HoF induction speech in 1966.

RuthMayBond
03-25-2005, 11:45 AM
Okay, I've covered the guys who are in and Randy Bass. Let's look at this from another perspective. Who among the foreigners, exactly, has earned inclusion in the Japanese Hall, but has been denied it after becoming eligible. I guess it depends upon how you define earned. Seems like a lot of guys in the Japanese Hall didn't seem to earn much, but they're in.

jalbright
03-25-2005, 07:07 PM
I guess it depends upon how you define earned. Seems like a lot of guys in the Japanese Hall didn't seem to earn much, but they're in.

Look, I've already conceded I'm not into their idea of honoring high schoolers and collegians and executives to the the extent they do. But when we look solely at the professionals, who do you think are such bad choices? There are guys who played before NPB was organized in 1936, and they're flat out hard to tell because we don't have the info on what they did before 1936. There are the honored dead from WW II military service, but I'm convinced that's exactly why they're there. I don't necessarily agree, but it's their Hall. Once you get beyond those aspects which I'd agree are unique to their Hall, which guys have they honored who can't reasonably make the case they're among the top 70 or 80 eligible professionals in Japan?

Jim Albright

west coast orange and black
03-31-2005, 12:33 AM
So I guess we are all back to where we started. We don't know. :laugh... So what was the purpose of this thread again? ;)
i just completed reading this entire thread and the above post sums it up for me. :laugh

what started out as an homage to oh got twisted and turned and strangled 'til now i do not know where you guys are in the conversation right now. :noidea

i wanted to comment about japanese players who never played in the major leagues and the hall of fame but i missed out by about two full pages. :ughh

i gotta say, though, lots of interesting stuff here. thanx.
carry on, good men.

Honus Wagner Rules
09-26-2005, 03:12 PM
Inspired by Bill Burgess, I wanted to start an ongoing discussion about Sadaharu Oh. Jim Albright has done some incredible research on him I am convinced Oh is one of the 5-7 greatest first basemen of all time.

Stats:

2831 games
.301/.445/.634
868 HRs
2170 RBI
1967 runs
2786 hits
2390 BBs
9 MVPs
9 GG


In 1978 a boy moved in across the street from me. He was from Japan. He always talked about the great Sadaharu Oh. He even had some photos and baseball cards of him. I've always be a fan of his ever since even though I never got to see him play.

Imapotato
09-26-2005, 05:41 PM
I concur

All his naysayers say the parks were shorter and like a COnservative Radio Show host leave off the other spectrum

His seasons were shorter as well

He would have been a better Frank Robinson, at least I think so...he had "IT" which takes a very good player into amazing

Joltin' Joe
09-26-2005, 06:11 PM
Many ML'ers that saw him play stated that he would have been a .300, 35, 120 kinda guy had he played in the ML.
What do you guys think of his swing? Not his batting stance but his swing.

jalbright
09-26-2005, 06:44 PM
Sadaharu Oh ELECTED BBF HOF JULY 2005
For a look at part 1 of my review of his case for Cooperstown, see:http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright12.html

For a look at my major league equivalent for him (in part 2 of my review of his case for Cooperstown), go to: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright13.html

For a season by season projection of his major league equivalents, see: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright14.html

For a comparison of Oh to his contemporaries in the majors and to first ballot HOFers, see: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright16.html

For a comparison of Oh to candidates who made the top ten in BBWAA voting but not Cooperstown, see: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright17.html

For a comparison of Oh's best years to major league players in the same years, see: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright32.html#Oh

He's the Japanese career leader in homers, RBI, walks, runs scored and slugging, and would be in on-base percentage if it were an official statistic. He won two consecutive Triple Crowns, was MVP 9 times, the best first baseman in the Central League (won a Best Nine Award) 18 times, and won 9 Golden Gloves, the first nine awarded, in the last nine years of his career. He led his league in runs scored 12 times, in homers 15 times, in total bases 12 times, in RBI 13 times, in walks 18 times, in slugging percentage 14 times, and average 5 times.

For even more about Oh, consult this link: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/InfoLinks.html#Sadaharu_Oh

As for the swing, I've seen it compared to Mel Ott's.

Jim Albright

Hammerin Hank
09-26-2005, 07:37 PM
Many ML'ers that saw him play stated that he would have been a .300, 35, 120 kinda guy had he played in the ML.
What do you guys think of his swing? Not his batting stance but his swing.

Can you name these players?

Joltin' Joe
09-26-2005, 08:57 PM
Can you name these players?

No sorry don't exactly remember. I saw it on a TV documentary show. It must be the guys that toured Japan in the 1970s. It might even have been the Hammer himself as he played against him in a tour as well as competing against him in the Home Run Derby in Japan. It might have been Pete Rose too. Damn, my memory is getting bad! :(

Joltin' Joe
09-27-2005, 04:50 AM
You know looking at what Ichiro and Hideki Matsui has done here, I don't see how Oh would not have hit .300+ w/ 30+ dongs in the ML. Oh was clearly superior to both of them.

Blackout
09-27-2005, 07:08 AM
You know looking at what Ichiro and Hideki Matsui has done here, I don't see how Oh would not have hit .300+ w/ 30+ dongs in the ML. Oh was clearly superior to both of them.

i dont know about that

he would've been coming into the majors at a time where pitching was at its peak (60s) and the leauge BA was in the .250's

and I dont know how you could say he was a better overall player than Ichiro, I find that hard to believe

Brian McKenna
09-27-2005, 07:21 AM
Don't really understand what Oh would have to do with Cooperstown. Didn't he play in another league and country?

That doesn't mean Oh wasn't one of the top players there. It's all fun to talk about though.

jalbright
09-27-2005, 11:54 AM
Can you name these players?

See the end of this article for some quotes of that ilk, with attribution of who said what: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright12.html

Jim Albright

jalbright
09-27-2005, 12:02 PM
Don't really understand what Oh would have to do with Cooperstown. Didn't he play in another league and country?

That doesn't mean Oh wasn't one of the top players there. It's all fun to talk about though.

It all comes down to what you want Cooperstown to be. If, like me, you want it to honor all the greatest players of the game, Oh is a very relevant topic with respect to Cooperstown. If you exclude him, you're excluding one of the ten best first basemen in the history of the game IMO. That's a significant omission if you seek the goal I seek.

Others want to keep Cooperstown limited to major league and Negro League players, in which case, Oh isn't terribly relevant.

The question is, what's better for Cooperstown. I believe my vision is the better one from that perspective. See this article: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright341.html

Jim Albright

Joltin' Joe
09-27-2005, 01:19 PM
i dont know about that

he would've been coming into the majors at a time where pitching was at its peak (60s) and the leauge BA was in the .250's

and I dont know how you could say he was a better overall player than Ichiro, I find that hard to believe

I didn't mean he was a better overall player than Ichiro. I meant Oh was clearly a superior hitter than both of them. Oh's era was less offensive and he still put up superior numbers to Gojira-san(Mr. Godzilla) & Ichiro.

Joltin' Joe
09-27-2005, 01:21 PM
See the end of this article for some quotes of that ilk, with attribution of who said what: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright12.html

Jim Albright


Thanks Jim! My memory was correct. It was Rose that said .300+ with 35 dongs.

jalbright
09-27-2005, 01:53 PM
I can't remember who said what without looking at the quotes section myself. My own assessment of Oh in the majors for his entire career is Willie McCovey's career stat line with 700 more walks--at almost exactly the same time.

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
09-27-2005, 02:30 PM
Here is Oh batting...

Honus Wagner Rules
09-27-2005, 02:32 PM
More Oh batting...

Honus Wagner Rules
09-27-2005, 02:34 PM
Batting practice...

Honus Wagner Rules
09-27-2005, 02:36 PM
Cool shot!

Honus Wagner Rules
09-27-2005, 02:38 PM
Autographed photo

Honus Wagner Rules
09-27-2005, 02:40 PM
Oh after managing his team to the pennant in 2003.

Honus Wagner Rules
09-27-2005, 02:48 PM
Oh going deep!

Barnstormer
09-27-2005, 03:33 PM
Not to be ignorant, but why are the names on their jerseys in English? Has it always been like that?

Joltin' Joe
09-27-2005, 03:40 PM
Not to be ignorant, but why are the names on their jerseys in English? Has it always been like that?

Yes. Baseball is an American sports. They kept that part of the tradition. The JL was formed after the ML tour in the 1930s. By the way, didn't Eiji Sawamura strike out Gehriger, Ruth, Gehrig, & Foxx in succession?

jalbright
09-27-2005, 05:57 PM
The Sawamura game is one in which he gave up only one run, on a 7th inning solo homer by Gehrig--and lost, 1-0. Earlier in the game, he struck out the four you named in succession (though Ruth was near the end of his career).

Jim Albright

Joltin' Joe
09-27-2005, 06:08 PM
Thanks Jim. Can you imagine, a college kid from a country that doesn't even have a Pro League yet, striking out those guys in succession?! That must have driven the home crowd wild!

Mischa
09-27-2005, 06:12 PM
Yes. Baseball is an American sports. They kept that part of the tradition. The JL was formed after the ML tour in the 1930s.

Originally Japanese uniforms had Japanese numbers and no names. The '34 team that became the Giants used English names so that American fans could follow the action (this was when the all-stars faced the Ruth/Gehrig tour mentioned). During World War II, they briefly returned to using Japanese text for the team names and no numbers, but after the War, returned to the setup that had been in place when the first pro league was formed in '37 and have stuck with that ever since.

One exception - players can opt not to have their last name on their back, but instead a nickname or first name. So Ichiro Suzuki was "Ichiro", Saburo Omura is "Saburo" and Randy Ready was "Spike". I believe Benny Agbayani is "Benny."

Joltin' Joe
09-27-2005, 06:36 PM
Originally Japanese uniforms had Japanese numbers and no names. The '34 team that became the Giants used English names so that American fans could follow the action (this was when the all-stars faced the Ruth/Gehrig tour mentioned). During World War II, they briefly returned to using Japanese text for the team names and no numbers, but after the War, returned to the setup that had been in place when the first pro league was formed in '37 and have stuck with that ever since.

One exception - players can opt not to have their last name on their back, but instead a nickname or first name. So Ichiro Suzuki was "Ichiro", Saburo Omura is "Saburo" and Randy Ready was "Spike". I believe Benny Agbayani is "Benny."

Good point. I also read that in addition to what you mentioned, during WWII, Japanese words replaced all of the American baseball terms that had been adopted and was in use.

I didn't know that about the first name/nick name. I thought Ichiro was the sole exception.

jalbright
09-27-2005, 06:47 PM
Thanks Jim. Can you imagine, a college kid from a country that doesn't even have a Pro League yet, striking out those guys in succession?! That must have driven the home crowd wild!

A seventeen year old high schooler, not a collegian! He became an instant legend, and that game was the impetus for professional baseball in Japan. It was the only game where the Japanese side was competitive that year. He threw in the 90's, maybe even a hundred, and had big breaking curve to go with it. He only pitched 105 games in Japanese pro ball before his death in WW II, but he had 3 no hitters in that time. The major leagues tried to sign him, but unsuccessfully. With the way US/Japan relations were going at the time (downhill toward Pearl Harbor), it probably wasn't meant to be.

Jim Albright

Joltin' Joe
09-27-2005, 08:50 PM
I had no idea he was only a 17 year old kid! :eek: I assumed he was a collegian.
Looking at the films, he looks to be tiny even for a Japanese in the 1930s. Do you know how tall he was? It is amazing the heat he was able to throw with that slight physique. Before he was killed in WWII, legend says that he actually caught a thrown hand grenade and actually threw it back to the "enemy" exploding back where it started from. What a waste of an incredible talent though! War really sucks!

jalbright
09-28-2005, 07:33 AM
I had no idea he was only a 17 year old kid! :eek: I assumed he was a collegian.
Looking at the films, he looks to be tiny even for a Japanese in the 1930s. Do you know how tall he was? It is amazing the heat he was able to throw with that slight physique. Before he was killed in WWII, legend says that he actually caught a thrown hand grenade and actually threw it back to the "enemy" exploding back where it started from. What a waste of an incredible talent though! War really sucks!

According to my source, 5' 9", 155 pounds. So he wasn't terribly small by Japanese standards. He did hurt his arm, so it's hard to say what his career would have looked like without the war--but certainly it would have been better if circumstances would have given him a shot at a normal career.

Jim Albright

Joltin' Joe
09-28-2005, 08:32 AM
According to my source, 5' 9", 155 pounds. So he wasn't terribly small by Japanese standards. He did hurt his arm, so it's hard to say what his career would have looked like without the war--but certainly it would have been better if circumstances would have given him a shot at a normal career.

Jim Albright

Hmm...that would actually make him above averaga for a Japanese male in the 1930s. Actually he would probably be a little above the averaga male in the US in the 1930s too. I wonder why he looks so tiny in those film footages? I'm not comparing him to Ruth and Gehrig. Even compared to his Japanese peers, he looks tiny. Well I trust you sources Jim, and unlike the listed height of MLB players which are quite optimistic to say the least, the listed height of the Japanese players always seem to be spot on.

Honus Wagner Rules
09-28-2005, 10:34 AM
A seventeen year old high schooler, not a collegian! He became an instant legend, and that game was the impetus for professional baseball in Japan. It was the only game where the Japanese side was competitive that year. He threw in the 90's, maybe even a hundred, and had big breaking curve to go with it. He only pitched 105 games in Japanese pro ball before his death in WW II, but he had 3 no hitters in that time. The major leagues tried to sign him, but unsuccessfully. With the way US/Japan relations were going at the time (downhill toward Pearl Harbor), it probably wasn't meant to be.

Jim Albright

Sounds like he was the Japanese Bob Feller...

Honus Wagner Rules
09-28-2005, 10:36 AM
So what do you guys think of Oh's batting stance and swing? It's not that similar to Mel Ott's stance. I've seen film of Ott's swing and he really dropped his hands way down to his waist. Oh seems to keep his hands very high, around chest level.

Honus Wagner Rules
09-28-2005, 11:01 AM
Mel Ott. Check out his hands...

Honus Wagner Rules
09-28-2005, 11:06 AM
Here's Oh in mid swing...

Honus Wagner Rules
09-28-2005, 11:07 AM
and another one...

Joltin' Joe
09-28-2005, 02:21 PM
So what do you guys think of Oh's batting stance and swing? It's not that similar to Mel Ott's stance. I've seen film of Ott's swing and he really dropped his hand way down to his waist. Oh seems to keep his hands very high, around chest level.

It certainly worked for him. I don't know how he could keep his balance like that. They say that he was rock stable in that flamingo stance. I remember Warren Cromartie saying that Oh had one of the biggest calves he has ever seen. Maybe that's where the rock solid stability came from. His swing actually looks somewhat similar to Ichiro's power swing in my opinion.

Honus Wagner Rules
09-28-2005, 02:54 PM
It certainly worked for him. I don't know how he could keep his balance like that. They say that he was rock stable in that flamingo stance. I remember Warren Cromartie saying that Oh had one of the biggest calves he has ever seen. Maybe that's where the rock solid stability came from. His swing actually looks somewhat similar to Ichiro's power swing in my opinion.

Ichiro does raise his lead foot a bit. What struck me about Oh is his physique. It's obvious he had a strong body especially his lower body. He wasn't weight-lifting huge but had a strong lean look ala A-Rod.

Joltin' Joe
09-28-2005, 03:11 PM
Ichiro does raise his lead foot a bit. What struck me about Oh is his physique. It's obvious he had a srong body especially his lower body. He wasn't weight-lifting huge but had a strong lean look ala A-Rod.

Yup must be those incredibly strong lower legs that Cromartie was talking about. In his book, Cromartie talks about the crazy exercises that Oh used to do like rabbit hops up and down the incredibly long stairs leading up to a huge temple to build up his incredible strength. Assuming one can keep perfectly stable and balanced, the flamingo stance gives you the ultimate leg kick and the perfect weight transfer needed for maximum power generation. This guy hit in smaller parks but from what I have heard and read, he rarely ever hit cheapies. Most of his homers were well into the back rows. This dude had power!

Honus Wagner Rules
09-29-2005, 06:35 AM
Oh was on the cover of Sports Illustrated on August 15, 1977:

Honus Wagner Rules
09-29-2005, 06:39 AM
I love this photo! It shows Oh's intensity...

Honus Wagner Rules
09-29-2005, 06:47 AM
An article about Sadaharu Oh and Mel Ott:

Ott & Oh

By David Marasco

The first time I saw a picture of Sadaharu Oh at the plate I thought "He looks exactly like Mel Ott." What I was looking at was Oh's leg raised high in the air. As it turns out, I was wrong. Mel Ott's swing involved his raising his leg high in the air and taking a big step as he swung. Instead, Oh would raise his leg in the air as he waited for the pitch. His batting stance has been compared to a dog watering a fire hydrant. The initial similarity between the two is a false one, but these men do share a lot in common. The first thing that can be said about these men is that they could clout. Baseball loves home run hitters. Cecil Fielder summed up the situation quite succinctly recently when he claimed that "the Cadillacs are at the end of the bat." Yet two great home run kings have been taken lightly despite their achievements. They both had the word Giants written across their uniforms. They were Mel Ott and Sadaharu Oh.

Beginnings

In 1926 a seventeen-year-old kid from New Orleans got lost in New York City. He did the first thing that came to mind and went back to Penn Station. There he met the son of the New York Giants' clubhouse man. One teenager gave the other the bad news. Mel Ott was late for his try out and John McGraw was pissed. Mugsy didn't stay mad. After watching Ott take batting practice pitches over the wall McGraw knew he had a future Hall of Famer. McGraw also knew something else; if he sent the kid to the minors some scrub manager would try to "correct" Mel's funky high leg kick. Realizing that this could ruin Ott's career McGraw made a decision. For the rest of the year Ott would be on the roster, but would not see much play. He would sit next to John McGraw on the bench and learn baseball.

Sadaharu Oh did not have the look of a blue-chipper when he came up as a nineteen-year-old with the Tokyo Giants in 1959. He hit only .161 as a pitcher. He was overshadowed by Shigeo Nagashima who had joined the team in 1958, and led the league in homers and RBIs. Nagashima would go on to bat cleanup for twenty five years. But because of that weak-hitting pitcher he would win only one other home run title.

At the Plate

Mel Ott finished his career with a National League record 511 home runs. While members of the 500 club aren't exactly common these days, they were rarer still in Ott's time. The top three in history upon Mel's retirement? Babe Ruth at 714, Jimmie Foxx with 534 and Ott at 511. Ott held the top spot in the National League until Willie Mays passed him in May of 1966. Oh's total is simply mind boggling. He hit 868 career home runs. That's over 100 more than Aaron, 150 in front of Ruth and surpasses Mays by 200.

But not only were these men great sluggers, but they were also great hitters. Ott was a career .304 hitter who knew his strike zone. He and Ted Williams are the only major leaguers who have both 500 round-trippers and fewer than 1000 strikeouts. He topped 100 walks for a major league record 7 years in a row and a National League record 10 years. On top of finishing as the National League's home run king he also held the walk crown until passed by Joe Morgan. A quick look at his statistics allows us to read off his "black ink": 2 runs titles, 6 home run titles, 1 RBI crown, walks 6 times and while he never took a batting race, he led the league in on base percentage 4 times and slugging once. His career numbers? 19th in games at 2730, 30th in at bats with 9456, 9th runs at 1859, 31st in hits at 2876, 40th in doubles at 488, 14th in homers with 511, 14th in total bases at 5041, 10th in RBI at 1860, 6th in walks with 1708, 21st in on base with .414 and 24th in slugging at .533.

Oh, like Ott, was also a .300 hitter. He ended his career at .301. And like Ott he knew how to draw a walk. Yes, the Japanese seasons were slightly shorter at 130 games, but because of his walking abilities Oh never reached 500 at bats. Oh's situation is different from Barry Bonds without Matt Williams, he had Shigeo Nagashima batting behind him in the cleanup spot. This Ruth-Gehrig pair accounted for all but three MVP awards between 1961 and 1977. After three years Oh became a slugger, posting 38 homers in 1962. Then he went on an unholy tear, blasting out 40+ dingers, posting a .300+ average and knocking in 100 runners every year for the remainder of the 60's. Between 1963 and 1977 he would miss 40 homers only twice, 100 RBI twice and .300 three times. Remember again that the 40 homers and 100 RBI were posted in 130 game seasons. On the Japanese charts Oh places first in home runs and RBI, and third in hits.

The Teams

The Giants of Ott's era were a mixed batch. When Mel broke in the McGraw Giants had just finished a dynasty where they finished in either first or second since 1917. The Giants would finish in fifth in 1926 and then would rebound and finish either second or third the next five years. In 1932 John McGraw retired to be replaced by the Giant's first baseman and the National League's last .400 hitter, Bill Terry. For the first half of Terry's tenure the Giants once again ascended to the roost of the National League. Between the batting feats of Ott and the pitching prowess of Carl Hubbell, the Giants took the National League three times in six years, never finishing lower than third. Then the wheels fell off of the machine and the Giants went into an extended slump. When they dipped to sixth in 1940 it was only their third losing season since 1915. In the 40's the best they could accomplish was a third place finish in 1942. No need to dwell on the hard times, instead remember the World Series victory in 1933 and the National League crowns in 1936 and 1937.

The Tokyo Giants are the New York Yankees on steroids. Powered by Oh and Nagashima, they won the Japan Series every year between 1965 and 1973. The nine year stranglehold on baseball has only one comparison, the nine year run put together by Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard and the Homestead Grays of the the late 30's-mid 40's. In fact, during the prime of Oh's career the Giants failed to win the Central League only four times. The Giants still play very good baseball, they won the Central League but lost the Japan Series last year.

Respect

Despite what they did at the plate, neither Ott nor Oh were treated very well off the field. Leo Durocher's famous line, "Nice guys finish last," was a directed at Mel Ott. Despite being the greatest power hitter in the history of Japan, Oh could not overcome his country's xenophobia. Oh was half-Chinese by birth, and hence was never wholly accepted by the Japanese. Several times he was refused entry to Japan after world tours due to problems with his passport status. The great Tokyo Giants teams that won the nine straight Japan Series purposely had no Amricans in order to prove the quality of the Japanese athlete. But it is interesting to note that many of Japan's greatest ball players don't conform to this twisted ideal. The Japanese Iron Man, Sachio Kinugasa, was of mixed heritage. His father was an African American member of Uncle Sam's occupation army. The all-time batting average king? American Leron Lee. Japan's only player to reach 3000 hits? Korean Isao Harimoto. The first 300 game winner? Russian born Victor Starfin.

This lack of respect carried over to their on-field achievements. The knock on Ott is that he took advantage of the short porch in the Polo Grounds. The wall in right was only 258 feet away. Of his 511 career homers, 323 of them were hit in the Polo Grounds, the most lopsided of any great slugger. But historian Tony Blengino makes an interesting point. Of Ott's final 144 homers, 111 of them were at home. So Ott for most of his career was helped slightly by his home park for most of his career, and it only had a large effect in his twilight years. What the Polo Grounds did is that it allowed Ott to extend his career several more years. Blengino notes that without the Polo Grounds Ott still probably still would have finished with over 400 dingers. The other dominant home run hitter in the National League at the time? Rogers Hornsby at 301.

With Oh there are many complaints against his 868 home runs. The walls in Japan are closer in than the ones in America. The pitching was at a lower calibre. But the same can be said of the great Josh Gibson, and his plaque hangs in Cooperstown. Josh's homer total can only be guessed at, the records are far from complete. Oh's numbers are in black and white. On top of that, let's return to the 130 game Japanese season. That is only 81% of the length of a 162 game season. Multiply Oh's numbers by 5/4 and watch 868 balloon to 1085 and 2170 to 2712. While purists may turn up their nose at Oh's numbers, it is hard to discount nearly 900 home runs.

On the Bench

Mel Ott spent the last years of his career as a player-manager. When John McGraw accepted the job in 1902 he started a chain that lasted until 1955. The four members of that chain were McGraw, Bill Terry, Mel Ott and Leo Durocher. On the ends we have two of the greatest managers to prowl the dugout, and in the middle we have a .400 hitter and a home run king. Sadly, Ott was the weak link in this managing chain. His teams never finished closer than 13 games back, and in 1943 slumped to 49 1/2 games behind the league leader. His only great moment as a manger came when he became the first one to be tossed in both ends of a double header.

From 1988 to 1992 Oh was the manager of the Tokyo Giants. But he only posted two Central League titles in his five years and was sacked. Shigeo Nagashima is once again with Tokyo, only this time as manager for the current Giants squad. This is his second time with the Giants. In 1975 he took charge of the squad and the Giants finished in dead last. In Japanese fashion he gave the fans a formal apology on the last day of the season. Oh is also on his second go-around as a manager. In 1995 he was given the job with the Fukoka Hawks. While he hasn't lead them to a league title, he has drawn many fans to the game. The Cadillacs are at the end of the bat. And as Cecil should know, this is true in both America and Japan.
source: http://www.thediamondangle.com/marasco/peo/ottoh.html

Joltin' Joe
10-01-2005, 05:14 PM
Why does Nagashima get so much love? Sure he was super charismatic compared to the ultra conservative Oh. Nagashima played a much more important defensive position but Oh was an excellent defensive 1st baseman. Nagashima hit only 444 dongs and people put him on the same level as Oh! :mad: What the hell man! In the JL, the cleanup spot is like the #3 spot in the ML. The best hitter hits 4th in Japan. And Nagashima hit #4 for the entire time they played together.

MyDogSparty
10-01-2005, 05:38 PM
In the JL, the cleanup spot is like the #3 spot in the ML. The best hitter hits 4th in Japan.

I'm afraid I don't know enough about the JL to know why that is. Could you explain?

Joltin' Joe
10-01-2005, 05:52 PM
I'm afraid I don't know enough about the JL to know why that is. Could you explain?

I guess it's just tradition. Hideki Matsui also hit #4 when he played for the Tokyo Giants.

jalbright
10-01-2005, 06:56 PM
Why does Nagashima get so much love? Sure he was super charismatic compared to the ultra conservative Oh. Nagashima played a much more important defensive position but Oh was an excellent defensive 1st baseman. Nagashima hit only 444 dongs and people put him on the same level as Oh! :mad: What the hell man! In the JL, the cleanup spot is like the #3 spot in the ML. The best hitter hits 4th in Japan. And Nagashima hit #4 for the entire time they played together.

Here's what I wrote about the two in part two of my web article arguing for Oh for the HOF:

It has been suggested that Nagashima is regarded as the best “Japanese” player, Oh being excluded because his father is Chinese. Another suggestion, courtesy of Josh Reyer, is that while Oh’s statistics were regarded as better, Nagashima was seen as more “clutch” because he came up with more memorable hits, homers, and defensive plays. Fred Ivor-Campbell indicates that this perception lasted most if not all of Nagashima’s career, but that Oh emerged from Nagashima’s shadow when the latter retired. That seems reasonable, because much of Oh’s advantage in career numbers came once Nagashima retired. The fact Oh could sustain that high level of performance for many more years would make his superiority as a player clear. Certainly, Oh’s statistics are far superior. Oh and Nagashima were teammates for 15 years, and Oh has 645 more games, 1156 more at bats, 697 more runs, 315 more hits, 424 more homers, 648 more RBI, 1421 more walks, and 4 more MVP awards. Any reasonable interpretation of the record clearly shows Oh to be the greater player. It does seem to be true that Nagashima was more popular. Oh’s Chinese heritage may or may not be one factor. It also seems that Nagashima was much more outgoing and willing to show his emotions on the field, while Oh rarely showed emotion and was generally reserved. Fans have always preferred outgoing guys who show their emotion to reserved guys who don’t, and the Japanese seem to be no exception.

It probably made some sense to put the better on-base percentage guy first--which was Oh. Also, Nagashima came into the league a year earlier and played like gangbusters from the start. Oh was in his third or fourth year when he started to put it together--by which time Nagashima was a certified star.

Jim Albright

Joltin' Joe
10-01-2005, 11:52 PM
It probably made some sense to put the better on-base percentage guy first--which was Oh. Also, Nagashima came into the league a year earlier and played like gangbusters from the start. Oh was in his third or fourth year when he started to put it together--by which time Nagashima was a certified star.

It definitely did but I doubt that field manager Kawakami even factored in the OBP or any manager in the 50s/60s for that matter. I don't even know if OBP was even an officially kept record at the beginning of Oh's career. Hitting #4 in Japan is considered very important. More so than our #3. Ironically, Kawakami actually helped the Giants more by placing the clearly superior Oh #3 as well as giving him the protection needed.

Joltin' Joe
10-02-2005, 12:08 AM
A surprisingly nice web page from MLB on Japanese Baseball. For those who have not seen it, it has a lot of interesting stuff about Oh as well as Sawamura. Check out the weird shot of Cobb in a very unusual uniform.

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/events/japan_series/history.jsp

Honus Wagner Rules
10-03-2005, 08:30 AM
In 1974 Hank Aaron and Oh had the first of their two HR derby matchups. Here's an article about it.


http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/news/mlb_news.jsp?ymd=20021106&content_id=171407&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp

Joltin' Joe
10-07-2005, 08:33 PM
Have you guys read Warren Cromartie's book about his days as a Tokyo Giant? It's a surprisingly great read and he writes a lot about Oh whom he developed a great friendship with. He really seem to click with the enigmatic Oh and seem to understand what went through the great slugger's mind. I would recommend it to anyone interested in baseball. It is a great primer on how Japanese baseball works and it is a very entertaining read as well.

jalbright
10-08-2005, 08:52 AM
One of the most interesting things about Cromartie's book is how Oh has behaved as a manager of the Hawks, where he has been significantly more successful. He has been much more assertive than Cromartie describes. If you've also read Oh's autobiography, one of the more impressive things about the man is his ability to learn and improve himself.

Jim Albright

Joltin' Joe
10-08-2005, 04:49 PM
Yes you're right. Oh always seem to put 110% effort into everything he did on the field.
Oh's tenure as the manager of the Giants was probably doomed to fail from the beginning as everyone believed that the job belonged to Nagashima and nobody else. Afterall, he was Mr. Giant. :rolleyes:
Jim, is it true that Oh ordered the IBB's to Rhodes and Bass so he could protect his 55? It just seems so unlike Oh to do something like that.

jalbright
10-08-2005, 06:06 PM
Whether he actually ordered it or let his coaches do so, he never disciplined anyone over it. To me, that makes the walks his responsibility. For more of my opinion on the issue, see this page: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/bbread2.html

Jim Albright

Joltin' Joe
10-09-2005, 07:16 AM
Jim, that saddens me quite a bit to know that....

jalbright
10-09-2005, 09:12 AM
There's no getting around the fact it is quite disappointing. He's another competitor with feet of clay. As so often happens, the ego of a great player is not only his strenght, but also his weakness. So he's not a hero--Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and a host of others aren't good choices for that role either. In the final analysis, it diminishes my view of the man, not the player.

Jim Albright

Joltin' Joe
10-09-2005, 09:15 AM
In the final analysis, it diminishes my view of the man, not the player.


Yes I guess that is a good way to put it Jim. Still disappointing nonetheless...:(

Honus Wagner Rules
10-10-2005, 06:09 AM
There's no getting around the fact it is quite disappointing. He's another competitor with feet of clay. As so often happens, the ego of a great player is not only his strenght, but also his weakness. So he's not a hero--Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and a host of others aren't good choices for that role either. In the final analysis, it diminishes my view of the man, not the player.

Jim Albright

Didn't Bass hit 55 HRs in 130 games while Oh hit his 55 HRs in 140 games?

Honus Wagner Rules
10-10-2005, 06:11 AM
Whether he actually ordered it or let his coaches do so, he never disciplined anyone over it. To me, that makes the walks his responsibility. For more of my opinion on the issue, see this page: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/bbread2.html

Jim Albright
That in a nutshell is the major differnce between MLB and the Japanese leagues. I've spent time in Japan and I've observed that the Japanese people are very much into being Japanese. The idea of a foreigner breaking Oh's HR record is unfathomable. That is the same reason why when they play MLB all-stars they don't have any of the foreign-born players on the Japanese all-star teams.

jalbright
10-10-2005, 07:02 AM
Didn't Bass hit 55 HRs in 130 games while Oh hit his 55 HRs in 140 games?

Bass had 54 in 130 games. Rhodes and Cabrera had their 55 in 140 game seasons.

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
10-10-2005, 07:51 AM
Bass had 54 in 130 games. Rhodes and Cabrera had their 55 in 140 game seasons.

Jim Albright

Doh! :ughh

Yes, Bass had 54 HRs. I wished that Bass had come back to the major leagues after his stint in Japan. I know his son was seriously ill and that ended his comeback.

jalbright
10-10-2005, 08:24 AM
I neglected to mention that Oh got his 55 in a 140 game season.

Jim Albright

Brooklyn
10-10-2005, 08:30 AM
You know looking at what Ichiro and Hideki Matsui has done here, I don't see how Oh would not have hit .300+ w/ 30+ dongs in the ML. Oh was clearly superior to both of them.

I think Matsui is a grat example of how difficult it would have been for Oh in the MLB. Matsui came to the sates touted as a power hitter, but has become more of a pure hitter, without that much power (by today's standards). Look at Matsui's stats:

Matsui stats (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?playerId=5372)

He averaged 37 HRs per year in Japan, including 50 in 2002. And that was over an average of about 135 games per year. In his three years with the Yankees, he has averaged 23 HRs per year in 162 games. His HR rate per game is half of what it was in Japan.

His batting percentages are fairly close between Japan and US, but his slugging is way down.

It is hard to say what Oh would have done just by seeing what Matsui did, but I just can't see that Oh would have been the prolific HR hitter in MLB that he was in Japan. Probably would have been a very good player, but how good we'll never know.

jalbright
10-10-2005, 08:44 AM
I think Matsui is a grat example of how difficult it would have been for Oh in the MLB. Matsui came to the sates touted as a power hitter, but has become more of a pure hitter, without that much power (by today's standards). Look at Matsui's stats:

Matsui stats (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?playerId=5372)

He averaged 37 HRs per year in Japan, including 50 in 2002. And that was over an average of about 135 games per year. In his three years with the Yankees, he has averaged 23 HRs per year in 162 games. His HR rate per game is half of what it was in Japan.

His batting percentages are fairly close between Japan and US, but his slugging is way down.

It is hard to say what Oh would have done just by seeing what Matsui did, but I just can't see that Oh would have been the prolific HR hitter in MLB that he was in Japan. Probably would have been a very good player, but how good we'll never know.

My own projection of Oh as a 500+ homer guy is based on how players who played in the majors and then played in Japan's Central League during Oh's time. In order to control for age and differences in playing time, I used matched at bats, and had over 40,000 such matched at bats. Oh's power per at bat or game would have dropped about 50%, but he would have recovered to about 60% per season because major league seasons are longer. Of course, 500 homers in 1960-1980 was a very meaningful accomplishment. In my analysis, Oh comes out with a career that looks like Willie McCovey's with a lot more walks.

When I did the analysis of Hideki Matsui, I foresaw a similar drop in his power numbers which has come to pass. There's a good basis for making estimates of what Japanese batters from the sixties on would have done in the majors.

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
10-12-2005, 03:59 PM
My own projection of Oh as a 500+ homer guy is based on how players who played in the majors and then played in Japan's Central League during Oh's time. In order to control for age and differences in playing time, I used matched at bats, and had over 40,000 such matched at bats. Oh's power per at bat or game would have dropped about 50%, but he would have recovered to about 60% per season because major league seasons are longer. Of course, 500 homers in 1960-1980 was a very meaningful accomplishment. In my analysis, Oh comes out with a career that looks like Willie McCovey's with a lot more walks.

When I did the analysis of Hideki Matsui, I foresaw a similar drop in his power numbers which has come to pass. There's a good basis for making estimates of what Japanese batters from the sixties on would have done in the majors.

Jim Albright
Does that mean that a 2001 Barry Bonds could have hit 90+ HRs in Japan?

jalbright
10-12-2005, 05:40 PM
In theory, yes. In reality, no. They'd have walked him an even more ridiculous number of times because no one would have pitched to him unless the bases were empty and/or the game was out of reach. When we get to extreme major league performances like Bonds' the conversion system I use simply won't work well due to practical considerations like that. Fortunately, it works just fine coming to the majors.

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
10-13-2005, 08:17 AM
My own projection of Oh as a 500+ homer guy is based on how players who played in the majors and then played in Japan's Central League during Oh's time. In order to control for age and differences in playing time, I used matched at bats, and had over 40,000 such matched at bats. Oh's power per at bat or game would have dropped about 50%, but he would have recovered to about 60% per season because major league seasons are longer. Of course, 500 homers in 1960-1980 was a very meaningful accomplishment. In my analysis, Oh comes out with a career that looks like Willie McCovey's with a lot more walks.

When I did the analysis of Hideki Matsui, I foresaw a similar drop in his power numbers which has come to pass. There's a good basis for making estimates of what Japanese batters from the sixties on would have done in the majors.

Jim Albright

Jim,

Is this drop in HR rate due larger parks and better ptiching? I spent a month in Japan in July 2002. I saw Matsui play on TV a few times. He showed some serious big time power. I was surprised when he only hit 16 HRs in 2003. But he doubled that with 31 HRs in 2004. I took that to mean he had adjusted to major league pitching. I still think he can hit 35-40 Hrs here, but his 23 HR performance in 2005 was again disappointing.

Honus Wagner Rules
10-13-2005, 08:18 AM
Jim,

Would you rank Oh as one of the top-5 all time first basemen or would you be more comfortable calling him a top-10 all time first baseman?

jalbright
10-13-2005, 12:49 PM
If you make it 7 or 8, I'm comfortable with that. He might make the top five. The nasty factor from my perspective is the 19th century first basemen (Anson, Connor, Brouthers). They played such a different game in such different conditions, it makes me less sure whether or not they belong in front of Oh or not. The others are easier comparisons. I would put Gehrig, Foxx and Mize from 1900 on ahead of Oh, and no other first basemen. Mize gets there because of the time he lost to WW II.

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
10-13-2005, 02:27 PM
Jim,

How good was Oh defensively? I know he won the first nine Gold Gloves when they were created but did he earn all of them or was it a case of his bat winning some of them for them?

Andrea
10-13-2005, 02:48 PM
G AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBI K BB AVG OBP SLG
110 338 58 88 14 0 25 177 62 81 88 .260 .413 .524

These are OH's stats against MLB teams that played friendly games during offseason against japanese teams.
Some 70's MLB players said that, in MLB, he would be a .300\30\120 guy.

Seeing these stats, i'd say '280\35\110, reaching 300\40\130 in his better years


http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright08.html

in that link, you'll see how Jim Albright calculated that OH would have hit 527 HR...far from Aaron's 755, but really good numbers anyway.

jalbright
10-13-2005, 06:26 PM
Jim,

How good was Oh defensively? I know he won the first nine Gold Gloves when they were created but did he earn all of them or was it a case of his bat winning some of them for them?

I'll let Davey Johnson, who played beside him for a season, answer: "You couldn’t find a better [fielding] first baseman" quoted by Frank Deford in Sports Illustrated. Whether or not he deserved the nine he got when he got them I can't say, but the information I have indicates he deserved nine and maybe more.

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
10-14-2005, 06:10 AM
I'll let Davey Johnson, who played beside him for a season, answer: "You couldn’t find a better [fielding] first baseman" quoted by Frank Deford in Sports Illustrated. Whether or not he deserved the nine he got when he got them I can't say, but the information I have indicates he deserved nine and maybe more.

Jim Albright

This may be important beacause of the top 7-8 first basemen in history, I doubt any of them were defensive stars of the highest order ala Hal Chase and Keith Herandez.

Joltin' Joe
10-15-2005, 04:42 PM
Question for Jim. You had mentioned that Oh's father was Chinese. I always thought that his father was Taiwanese.

jalbright
10-15-2005, 06:29 PM
Oh's autobiography explicitly states his father told him about his (the father's) youth in a poor village in mainland China. Oh does have a Taiwanese passport, which is due to the politics of Japan means he couldn't have a Japanese one. Presumably, the passport is Taiwanese because his father supported the Chaing Kai-shek side in the Chinese Civil War rather than the Communists. That side came to rule Taiwan when the Communists ousted them from the mainland. It seems Oh's connection with Taiwan has everything to do with Asian politics and very little else.

Jim Albright

Joltin' Joe
10-15-2005, 06:48 PM
It seems Oh's connection with Taiwan has everything to do with Asian politics and very little else.

Thanks Jim. I also assumed that he cannot be Chinese because they are not know for any good baseball player while the Taiwanese certainly are.:p

Honus Wagner Rules
01-08-2006, 03:44 PM
I see a lot of people rank Oscar Charleston, John Gibson, and Satchel Paige in their top 100. But I never see Sadaharu Oh on anyone's top 100 list, except for Jim Albright of course. :D

Do you consider Sadaharu Oh to be one of the top-100 players of all time?

abacab
01-08-2006, 03:48 PM
I think the answer is yes, but the question is where exactly does he rank. My best guess is that he belongs in the neighborhood of Killebrew, Stargell, and McCovey.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-08-2006, 03:49 PM
I think the answer is yes, but the question is where exactly does he rank. My best guess is that he belongs in the neighborhood of Killebrew, Stargell, and McCovey.
That's a good starting point.

Myankee4life
01-08-2006, 04:45 PM
I think he ranks in the top 100 maybe 60-80 range.

mac195
01-08-2006, 04:52 PM
J Albright has done the math for statistical comparisons of Japan League players to MLBers. If I remember right, Oh comes out a little ahead of contemporaries McCovey and Killebrew.

jalbright
01-08-2006, 05:28 PM
unsurprisingly, I voted yes. I doubt I'd rank him in the top 40, as I can't see him as better than Gehrig and Foxx, and I choose to be conservative enough to put him behind Mize. I put him ahead of all other first basemen from after 1920 (I'm not completely comfortable with how to rate Anson, Brouthers and Connor from the 19th century). For anyone wanting to look at the math, see this article: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright13.html another article which is quite relevant to this discussion is http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright16.html

Jim Albright

leecemark
01-08-2006, 06:31 PM
--I think him has compared him to Willie McCovey in the past. I think that is a fairly optimistic, but not unreasonable comparison. McCovey is probably in the 60-70 range for me and Oh would be maybe 10-15 spots below him.

538280
01-08-2006, 06:40 PM
I suppose Oh may just make my top 100 (probably 90s), but I don't think he's anywhere near McCovey. McCovey may have had one of the top 10 hitting peaks of all time, certainly at least top 15. I don't see Oh as being that kind of hitter. Orlando Cepeda with better plate discipline is probably more like it.

leecemark
01-08-2006, 07:23 PM
--Doesn't Orlando Cepeda with better plate dIscipline pretty much describe McCovey?

538280
01-08-2006, 07:31 PM
--Doesn't Orlando Cepeda with better plate dIscipline pretty much describe McCovey?

McCovey was a much better slugger. He had a 193 rel. IsoSLG and Cepeda was at 153. I don't think Oh was the slugger McCovey was.

leecemark
01-08-2006, 07:59 PM
--Cepeda was a great player before his knees gave out in the mid-60s. 1967 MVP not withstanding, he was never the same player after. He was clearly a better player than McCovey in the early 60s. I guess better plate disipline AND better health separate McCovey from Cepeda though (although Strech had some knee problems of his own that kept him from Gehrig/Foxx territory).

mac195
01-08-2006, 08:03 PM
I suppose Oh may just make my top 100 (probably 90s), but I don't think he's anywhere near McCovey. McCovey may have had one of the top 10 hitting peaks of all time, certainly at least top 15. I don't see Oh as being that kind of hitter. Orlando Cepeda with better plate discipline is probably more like it.

Cepeda with better plate discipline, and a longer career is a top 50 player.

Here is Jim's projection for Oh:


Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR TB walks avg OBP Slg
2995 9939 2778 372 39 527 4809 2235 0.279 0.412 0.484

Based on that, and considering that it is projected to the low offense '60s, you would have to rate Oh as a top 50 or 60 player.

Blackout
01-08-2006, 08:08 PM
more walks than Teddy Ballgame?

jalbright
01-09-2006, 09:10 AM
more walks than Teddy Ballgame?

Yep. This is the one case where I used Oh's actual total rather than what the numbers told me I should use. Before you get on any high horse about that, realize that doing so was a far more conservative option (i.e., the numbers said it should be even higher because of 1) the shorter Japanese seasons and 2) the comparisons of the time have major leaguers giving up more walks to guys who played in both leagues than Japanese pitchers did).

I've written that Oh's career totals are McCovey's with 700 more walks. Oh was insanely consistent if you account for season length. So he would have never been as good as McCovey at his peak, but over his career, he would have bested Willie because of Oh's consistency and durability.

Jim Albright

jalbright
01-09-2006, 01:27 PM
As a sidelight to my estimation of Oh's walks, the numbers I used would put Oh at around 3000. If instead we used his performance in exhibitions against major leaguers, those numbers would prorate to over 2500--and the evidence is that those major league pitchers were definitely better than average. So choosing 2200+ is as conservative as I could go and still base the figure on actual evidence.

There are several advantages in using McCovey as the base for comparison. Both men are left handed first basemen who played basically from 1960 to 1980 and either project (Oh) or did hit 520-530 career homers.

Jim Albright

yanks0714
01-09-2006, 04:38 PM
Oh, oh.....

I rate Mr. Oh in the neighborhood right with Willie McCovey and Johnnie Mize. Yes, I think he was that good. I see him as behind only Gehrig, Foxx, Greenberg (war time credit given), and Bagwell. Thomas as well if you list him as a 1B instead of DH.

mac195
01-09-2006, 05:12 PM
Jim, I imagine you did the right thing adjusting Oh's walks down. His total was probably inflated a bit because he was so much better than the players hitting behind him - kind of a Barry Bonds situation, which would not have occured if he was in MLB. Did you use a formula to try to adjust for that effect? Who did hit behind him anyway? Nagashima must have hit in front of him, right?

538280
01-09-2006, 05:29 PM
Cepeda with better plate discipline, and a longer career is a top 50 player.

Here is Jim's projection for Oh:


Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR TB walks avg OBP Slg
2995 9939 2778 372 39 527 4809 2235 0.279 0.412 0.484

Based on that, and considering that it is projected to the low offense '60s, you would have to rate Oh as a top 50 or 60 player.

That would come out to about a 148 OPS+, which is the same as Willie McCovey. I must admit, not too shabby. I must ask though-what was the park like that Oh played in?

Also (and I don't know if Jim adjusted for this), I think that Oh wouldn't have lasted as long in the major leagues. Looking at his stat line, it seems he did hang around a few years when he was a shadow of his former self, probably mostly just because he was Sadaharu Oh, the greatest Japanese player ever, and everyone wanted to see him play. Also, the higher quality of play in the majors may have drove him out even earlier. Also, I don't think he would have walked nearly as often the majors because he wouldn't be feared nearly as much by the pitchers.

I still need to see far more evidence before I consider him even close to the equal of McCovey, who I have in the mid 40s all time.

jalbright
01-09-2006, 07:23 PM
Jim, I imagine you did the right thing adjusting Oh's walks down. His total was probably inflated a bit because he was so much better than the players hitting behind him - kind of a Barry Bonds situation, which would not have occured if he was in MLB. Did you use a formula to try to adjust for that effect? Who did hit behind him anyway? Nagashima must have hit in front of him, right?

Actually, Oh hit third once he started to produce and Nagashima (who was already batting cleanup) stayed there. It worked out because Oh with his patience gave Nagashima plenty of RBI opportunities despite all the homers. However, that wasn't the reason--Nagashima was wildly popular, and Oh wasn't nearly as well received--so the concept of face had a lot to do with it.

I'm unaware of any reliable method to do what you suggest. I can tell you, nobody in Japan in his right mind disrespected Nagashima I think when Nagashima retired and they acquired Harimoto, Harimoto hit third and Oh cleanup--and I'm not sure who hit behind him then.

Jim Albright

jalbright
01-09-2006, 07:59 PM
That would come out to about a 148 OPS+, which is the same as Willie McCovey. I must admit, not too shabby. I must ask though-what was the park like that Oh played in?

Also (and I don't know if Jim adjusted for this), I think that Oh wouldn't have lasted as long in the major leagues. Looking at his stat line, it seems he did hang around a few years when he was a shadow of his former self, probably mostly just because he was Sadaharu Oh, the greatest Japanese player ever, and everyone wanted to see him play. Also, the higher quality of play in the majors may have drove him out even earlier. Also, I don't think he would have walked nearly as often the majors because he wouldn't be feared nearly as much by the pitchers.

I still need to see far more evidence before I consider him even close to the equal of McCovey, who I have in the mid 40s all time.

In response to the last sentence, your post indicates you have read few if any of my articles on Oh. Try going to http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/ and look for the Oh articles. They're easy to find.

Now for some other issues you raise:

1) The park.

Oh had 4200+ AB in his main stadium, Korakuen, and 5000+ elsewhere because the Yomiuri Giants (Oh's team) played "home" games at various places in Japan to capitalize on their popularity. I actually have home/road splits for Oh's homers, and those records indicate that Korakuen gave him a small advantage of about 14-15 homers over a normal home/road split. I can't see the park giving such a dead pull hitter as Oh any great advantage in average since he rarely went left of center field and teams shifted accordingly. I wish I had the data to confirm this, but I do not.

2) The walks issue has already been discussed, and I won't reiterate it here. However, if he got less walks, he'd have had more balls to swing at and probably more career hits and homers to go along with more career outs. In fact, my career home run estimate is conservative because I simply eliminated the walks the formulas said he should get rather than turn them into AB and hit and homer opportunities. Seeing as the formulas would give him over another season's worth of walks, he might well have finished in the 550 range. I prefer the more conservative approach so as to protect myself from charges of overromanticizing Oh.

3) As for Oh's career, it would have been shorter, but not nearly so much on the end you suspect. I don't have him in the majors until 1962, when he adopted his signature "flamingo" (one leg in the air) batting stance. I gave him a full rookie season that year despite the fact it wouldn't have been superb (246/326/430), but I think a 22 year old hotshot would get some patience. To me, he merited full time consideration through 1979, as he would be projected to hit at least .250 with a .368 OBP and a .416 slugging percentage. He set all but one of those lows in 1979, when he is projected to hit .258 with the OBP and slugging marks. From 1963 through 1978, his OPS is never projected below 800, and usually is well over that. In 1980, I gave him his actual playing time on the theory 1) he'd be given a chance to solve his problems, and then 2) he'd get some extra playing time in his "farewell tour" that he probably wouldn't otherwise deserve. So that one season might be a bit overstated, but it's hard to justify picking other numbers, since they would almost come out of a hat with just about as much justification behind them.

Jim Albright

mac195
01-09-2006, 08:31 PM
With Nagashima hitting behind Oh, there probably wasn't that much of a "Bonds effect" then. Oh's projected walks total looks pretty solid.

Honus Wagner Rules
01-10-2006, 06:52 AM
Jim,

Just curious, did Oh ever hit some "tape measure" HRs, say over 500ft?

jalbright
01-10-2006, 10:12 AM
What I've got on distance is that 49 of his homers went 427 feet or more, 29 of those leaving the park he was in. As for the accuracy of the estimates, I have no idea.

Jim Albright

jalbright
01-10-2006, 10:53 AM
For another look at Oh's seasons, see this article (Oh is the first player covered) which compares Oh's projection to actual major leaguers in the season of the projection: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright32.html

Jim Albright

jalbright
01-12-2006, 10:12 AM
I understand why folks are reluctant to accept that in the 1960-1980 period, major league pitchers walked guys more often than Japanese pitchers did, even when those players played in both leagues. It's counterintuitive. In the 1990's the more intuitive situation has come about, where Japanese pitchers walk the same guys more often than their major league counterparts.

Why did this happen? I can think of three possible main reasons:

1) the umpiring
2) the fact Japanese pitchers trained by throwing hard on their off days and
3) the in-game workloads of Japanese pitchers

The umpiring may be a small factor, but major leaguers still gripe that they don't get the calls Japanese players do. Perhaps the umpiring has gotten a little less biased in this regard, but I have trouble seeing this as a major factor in why this walk situation occurred.

Japanese pitchers certainly haven't abandoned this style of training, though the impression I get is that it has diminished. However, one can still ease it off a little in practice versus a game even if the coaches want your best. It's a factor, I think, but primarily because of the last issue.

Japanese pitchers were worked much harder than their major league brethren in this era. In 1960-68, the Japanese pitcher with the fifth highest IP had more IP than the major leaguer with the fifth highest IP seven times despite the fact Japanese seasons were at least ten and often as many as 32 games shorter than major league seasons. In the entire period 1960-1980, the guy finishing fifth in IP in the majors had more IP per team games than the fifth guy in Japanese IP precisely once. I chose the fifth place pitcher simply to eliminate the effect of one outlandish case of pitcher usage.

The Japanese didn't start to abandon the idea that ace pitchers should serve as relievers in close games they didn't start until the seventies, which accounts for some of this concentration of workload on to a team's best two or three pitchers. The idea of the importance of the complete game was stronger in Japan than in the majors as well, and Japanese teams were known to start guys multiple games in a row at least early in this period.

Thus, top Japanese pitchers were expected to play much more often in games and , if they weren't used in a game, to throw hard that day anyway. Under those conditions, pitchers needed to find a way to protect their arms, and one way to do that was the old American deadball era solution: throw strikes, don't nibble. As the expectations of workload eased (and to a lesser extent as theories of how to practice eased as well), then Japanese pitchers slowly changed their approach to include more nibbling at the edges of the plate.

Jim Albright

DoubleX
01-12-2006, 10:27 AM
Jim, how did you make these year by year projections?

Honus Wagner Rules
01-12-2006, 11:22 AM
I just wanted to hear from the eight people who do not think Sadaharu Oh is a top 100 all-time player. I'm just curious. ;)

jalbright
01-12-2006, 01:33 PM
Jim, how did you make these year by year projections?

The method is described in detail at http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright08.html the context is home runs, which is where I started, but I carried the method to all other categories with the exception of walks as noted earlier.

This article has more to say on how the projections were arrived at, though emphasizing the career marks: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright13.html

A discussion of the season by season projections is here: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright14.html

And then there is the comparison of the single season projections to actual major leaguers in each season, which link has been previously provided in this thread.

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
03-20-2006, 10:13 PM
Congrats to Sadaharu Oh to leading Japan to the WBC Championship. Just another feather in his cap. :clapping

Jim, do you have stats on Oh's managerial career? I know he won a Japan Series with the Giants and another pennant with another team. How good a manager has he been?

jalbright
03-21-2006, 04:46 AM
For Oh's managerial stats, go to this page and scroll about halfway down: http://www.japanbaseballdaily.com/individualmanagersm-y.html He's led his team to the regular season lead in his league five times, though lost in the Pacific League playoffs two of those times. He's won two Japan Series, and is in the top ten in managing wins.

If you read Cromartie's book, Slugging It Out in Japan, you have to think Oh was learning how to manage during his days with the Giants and wasn't all too sure of himself and was also either in awe of managing the Giants and/or was somewhat limited by management. The pennant he won there was probably more a testament to the quality of the team he had then than Oh's managing. Don't think that I reach this conclusion because Cromartie trashed Oh--quite the contrary. He loved the man and even gave his son a middle name in Oh's honor.

With the Hawks, Oh seems to have been his own man and built a loser into one of the current powerhouses in Japanese ball. Overall, I have him around the ten most successful managers in Japanese baseball history, which would make him a Japanese HOFer just as a manager.

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
03-21-2006, 06:45 AM
Thanks Jim!

I'm sure Oh's mamgerial career only strengthens your case for Oh being inducted into the HoF here in America.

jalbright
03-21-2006, 11:34 AM
It sure doesn't hurt, nor does the WBC win. Unfortunately, the big issue is the resistance to anybody who didn't play in the US or Canada. My own guess is that the dam won't really begin to weaken until the first player from Japan who came and starred in the majors (probably Ichiro) is inducted. Then we can start to point out the other stars in Japan who were as great or greater than him who aren't in. That's a decade or more away, though.

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
03-22-2006, 10:39 AM
It sure doesn't hurt, nor does the WBC win. Unfortunately, the big issue is the resistance to anybody who didn't play in the US or Canada. My own guess is that the dam won't really begin to weaken until the first player from Japan who came and starred in the majors (probably Ichiro) is inducted. Then we can start to point out the other stars in Japan who were as great or greater than him who aren't in. That's a decade or more away, though.

Jim Albright
Ichiro is probably 12-15 years from potentially being inducted. Oh may not be around by then. :ughh He is 66 years old already.

Shoeless
03-22-2006, 07:16 PM
OK, here's a question: Why do Japanese lefties not imitate Oh's swing more? It seems like almost every lefty I saw in my short time in Japan had that no-power, Ichiro-type swing. I'll concede that no one here swings like Ruth, either, but then pitching has changed a lot since then...it seems odd that a guy as successful as Oh didn't set a standard for hitters.

Honus Wagner Rules
03-22-2006, 11:12 PM
OK, here's a question: Why do Japanese lefties not imitate Oh's swing more? It seems like almost every lefty I saw in my short time in Japan had that no-power, Ichiro-type swing. I'll concede that no one here swings like Ruth, either, but then pitching has changed a lot since then...it seems odd that a guy as successful as Oh didn't set a standard for hitters.
Good question!

jalbright
03-23-2006, 04:49 AM
OK, here's a question: Why do Japanese lefties not imitate Oh's swing more? It seems like almost every lefty I saw in my short time in Japan had that no-power, Ichiro-type swing. I'll concede that no one here swings like Ruth, either, but then pitching has changed a lot since then...it seems odd that a guy as successful as Oh didn't set a standard for hitters.

Probably because 1) Oh possessed great leg strenght to enable him to do it, 2) the Japanese tend toward conformity, and that stance isn't the norm, 3) (probably the most important) it took even Oh a good deal of work to master it, and 4) there aren't a lot of people out there experienced with that stance to teach it.

Jim Albright

Brian McKenna
03-23-2006, 06:14 AM
oh had an abnormal stance that wouldn't fit 99.9% of ball players in the history of the game

Bill Burgess
04-01-2006, 10:10 AM
Just saw this nice thread. Good posts all around. Thanks, Adam for doing this. I agree that Oh might well have been a top 1Bman. But I do not recognize the logic of his being eligible for the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.

The Hall was not set up to honor anyone around the world. Just the best of American ballplayers. I do not see any relationship between the Negro Leagues and the Japanese Leagues.

The Negro Leagues were organized to rectify the humongous forced exclusion of blacks from the 'National Game'. That omission was the glaring mistake.

If Oh had been born in America, or come here in his youth, and been forcibly excluded, that would have been completely different. As it was, he faced no discrimination, racism, or denial of material benefits. He was recognized as royalty in his entire country, given every possible honor, etc. His material benefits cannot begin to compare to those of Oscar Charleston, who I feel was a MUCH better player, but was allowed to reap only a tiny fraction of the material benefits he was entitled to, if he had been allowed into the MLs.

Putting Oh into the American Hall of Fame would be to correct a mistake that never occurred, at least not that I can see. Is there something important that is invisible to me? I'm open to debate.

Bill Burgess

jalbright
04-01-2006, 10:34 AM
Just saw this nice thread. Good posts all around. Thanks, Adam for doing this. I agree that Oh might well have been a top 1Bman. But I do not recognize the logic of his being eligible for the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.

The Hall was not set up to honor anyone around the world. Just the best of American ballplayers. I do not see any relationship between the Negro Leagues and the Japanese Leagues.

The Negro Leagues were organized to rectify the humongous forced exclusion of blacks from the 'National Game'. That omission was the glaring mistake.

If Oh had been born in America, or come here in his youth, and been forcibly excluded, that would have been completely different. As it was, he faced no discrimination, racism, or denial of material benefits. He was recognized as royalty in his entire country, given every possible honor, etc. His material benefits cannot begin to compare to those of Oscar Charleston, who I feel was a MUCH better player, but was allowed to reap only a tiny fraction of the material benefits he was entitled to, if he had been allowed into the MLs.

Putting Oh into the American Hall of Fame would be to correct a mistake that never occurred, at least not that I can see. Is there something important that is invisible to me? I'm open to debate.

Bill Burgess

Sigh, not you too, Bill. First off, there's the issue that the majors and Japanese leagues agreed around 1965 to respect each other's reserve clauses. This agreement was maintained even after the McNally arbitration decision permitting free agency in the majors. What it meant was that Japanese teams were given the right to keep their players indefinitely, which they did. There was a loophole that Nomo found, but it took 30 years for someone to find it. Nomo faced significant pressure to not use this loophole, but he was willing to burn his bridges and go to the majors. That's asking a lot. But Oh would have faced even more, because his career was winding down by the time of the McNally decision (1975). He would have had to quit a good paying job, and fight his way through the courts, probably without a job until the fight was over--by which time his skills might well have eroded to make the exercise a Pyrrhic victory from his personal perspective if he wanted to try to play in the majors anywhere near his prime. Even today, Japanese players who enter the Japanese system are tied to their teams for nine years unless the teams agree otherwise. So, the majors were at least complicit in barring Oh from the majors, just because they felt it was good business. You're too much of a player's man to like that too well.

Beyond that, it's a matter of perspective. Is it a good idea for the Hall and baseball to embrace the trend toward gloablization of the game a la the World Baseball Cup? If so, why wouldn't we want to induct those players from other countries who demonstrated skills on a par with legitimate HOFers in Cooperstown? Japanese folks have the money to be tourists--don't you think that if there was a group of half a dozen or more Japanese heroes in Cooperstown, some of those tourists who are baseball fans would visit Cooperstown? So long as the choices are legitimate quality, what's the down side? There's no question that making proper choices is a significant hurdle, but I maintain it is one that can be reasonably well overcome by something called research. If the only down side is that we actually have to think carefully about the choices we are making, so what? Shouldn't we be doing that already? Also, look at the two other signifcant professional team sports in North America that are truly international at this time: basketball and hockey. Both of them induct players who never played a moment in the NHL or NBA. Are they wrong and baseball right? If it's all about the name of the institution ("National Baseball Hall of Fame"), let's be honest and recognize that is a choice that certainly made sense 70 years ago, and if we wish to perpetuate that choice today, so be it--but it's a choice, not something set in stone.

Jim Albright

Bill Burgess
04-01-2006, 11:15 AM
Jim,

You realize you are opening a very LARGE discussion? I admit I haven't given a lot of thought to this issue of whether or not to admit Japanese stars to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. I did and do vote for them in OUR Hall of Fame.

If we are to consider the larger, admittedly more important issue of Cooperstown, we would need to have a layered, in-depth discussion. That might be a valid issue for a thread of its own.

One topic is what degree of play they are with respect to the American MLs. Another is how deep do we want the inclusion to penetrate. But the most profound issue is whether or not there is a valid, legitimate NEED to put the best Japanese players into the American Hall of Fame.

Did the Japanese players recognize the American game as the superior product? One would assume so, if their players want to come here to make their careers. Are they coming here merely for the greater salaries? Fame? Better competition? All of the above?

You bring up the topic of forcible exclusion, which always galls the heck out of me. But even so, did such exclusion cost them materially? How much? I would think that they were well-paid in Japan, were famous, and didn't suffer that much. But I really don't know. I'm not in a position to debate this issue with any really good knowledge.

But even if we in Fever established a consensus to put the stars of Japanese baseball, there would remain questions of how many, in what manner would we induct them, etc. Look how long it took for the Hall to induct the recent number of Negro Leaguers? And since they were 'here' first, and have suffered from forcible exclusion longer, and still have a small number of worthy candidates still waiting, (Spot Poles, John Beckworth, Elwood "Bingo" DeMoss, Oliver "Ghost" Marcelle, James Jesse "Nip" Winters, William "Dizzy" Dismukes, Charles Islam "C. I." Taylor, Larry Brown, Frank Duncan), how we put in the Japanese is a good question.

What would be the method? The Hall frowns upon simply inducting a large number en masse. So how would we structure such an induction mechanism?

I'm open to discussion, but it would take a really good argument to convince me there is a need, assuming that Japan has their own Baseball Hall of Fame, and I'll bet there is not a single American MLer in there.

Bill Burgess

jalbright
04-01-2006, 02:27 PM
Jim,

You realize you are opening a very LARGE discussion? I admit I haven't given a lot of thought to this issue of whether or not to admit Japanese stars to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. I did and do vote for them in OUR Hall of Fame.

If we are to consider the larger, admittedly more important issue of Cooperstown, we would need to have a layered, in-depth discussion. That might be a valid issue for a thread of its own.

One topic is what degree of play they are with respect to the American MLs. Another is how deep do we want the inclusion to penetrate. But the most profound issue is whether or not there is a valid, legitimate NEED to put the best Japanese players into the American Hall of Fame.

Did the Japanese players recognize the American game as the superior product? One would assume so, if their players want to come here to make their careers. Are they coming here merely for the greater salaries? Fame? Better competition? All of the above?

You bring up the topic of forcible exclusion, which always galls the heck out of me. But even so, did such exclusion cost them materially? How much? I would think that they were well-paid in Japan, were famous, and didn't suffer that much. But I really don't know. I'm not in a position to debate this issue with any really good knowledge.

But even if we in Fever established a consensus to put the stars of Japanese baseball, there would remain questions of how many, in what manner would we induct them, etc. Look how long it took for the Hall to induct the recent number of Negro Leaguers? And since they were 'here' first, and have suffered from forcible exclusion longer, and still have a small number of worthy candidates still waiting, (Spot Poles, John Beckworth, Elwood "Bingo" DeMoss, Oliver "Ghost" Marcelle, James Jesse "Nip" Winters, William "Dizzy" Dismukes, Charles Islam "C. I." Taylor, Larry Brown, Frank Duncan), how we put in the Japanese is a good question.

What would be the method? The Hall frowns upon simply inducting a large number en masse. So how would we structure such an induction mechanism?

I'm open to discussion, but it would take a really good argument to convince me there is a need, assuming that Japan has their own Baseball Hall of Fame, and I'll bet there is not a single American MLer in there.

Bill Burgess
I harbor no illusions that this opens many discussions. To be entirely consistent, if we had decent records for the Cubans who played in Castro's system, we'd have to deal with them to be consistent. But recognize that your position is nothing more than a choice. Beyond that, think about this: don't you have to try to do what I suggest if the majors actually want to woo Japanese fans? Could we really bar the Ichiros of the world because no American teams pursued them when they came out of school and then their Japanese teams held them so long that they couldn't amass a traditional major league HOF career (which, by the way, is what's happening today)?

If baseball and the Hall want to move to deal with globalization, they will be faced with a stark choice: thumb their noses in a HOF sense toward global fans they want to woo, or find a way to accomodate them. If travel to Japan were to speed up to the point that New York to Tokyo took only five hours in the air like New York to LA does today, don't you think we'd see a push toward either a merger or at least an international "World Series"? How could you do that and still effectively bar the door of Cooperstown? What's wrong with honoring all the greatest professional players in Cooperstown instead of only those who played in North America? My feeling is that with the pace of technological change that you can delay the day when Cooperstown has to face these questions, but the day will come when you have to face them. Baseball, in its inimitable way, may well choose to try to ignore it, just like it tried to ignore the Negro Leagues--but if they do that, it will be obvious to the global audience it supposedly is trying to attract that what they want is your money and the talent they can get (cheaply if possible), but that the major leagues are ambivalent at best about embracing them. Do you think that's wise?

Forget about Japanese players coming here for more money. If they were only interested in the cash, almost all of them left better contracts and/or contract offers at home, basically because major league teams still see these guys as risks. They're coming to compete against the best. Before Nomo, they were well-paid, but not by major league standards. Japanese teams are corporate advertisements, and teams have usually lost money on them if the goodwill from the advertising isn't figured into the equation. But there's a limit to how much those corporations are willing to spend for that kind of advertising. Ballplayers don't get free agency unitl they've been around 9 years--take a wild guess if that depresses salaries for all but the guys who have top-notch major league talent. Arbitration over there is a joke--the teams almost never lose, even if the player has the temerity to try it. How do you think that effects salaries? In fairness, guys who would be AAA players in the states but start in Japan are financially at least as well off because they are far more important over there than they would be here. Of course, when we're talking HOF-caliber players, we're not talking about guys with that kind of talent level. I think it's clear that HOF caliber players have not been paid close to a comparable wage since free agency began in the majors, if not always.

When it comes to who to include, I think the standard is simple: induct only those who demonstrated HOF caliber talent--isn't that what we've sought to do for the Negro Leaguers? If we can do it for them, why can't we do it for the Japanese and/or the Castro Cubans? We'll have to get ahold of good Castro era records to do it, but I'm sure they exist but that the Cuban authorities aren't interested in sharing them right now. But the Japanese have far better records and bases for comparison than the Negro Leaugers ever did. Major leaguers have been a significant presence in Japan back to the late fifties. That's the whole basis of my work on Oh and other Japanese greats. If you read my stuff on Oh, you would have seen that my conversion of Oh's stats was based on over 20,000 matched AB of guys who played in Oh's Central League in his time (1960-80) and who had also played in the majors. I used identical numbers of AB for each player, so that a guy didn't have 100 AB in the majors and 4000 in Japan or vice versa. I also matched the AB as closely in time as possible, so if a guy was in decline in the majors and went to Japan, those last years were the first ones to count because they best represented his talent level at the time of the switch. Even so, there is one bias I couldn't eliminate: the Japanese group is older because in almost every case, the guy went from the majors to Japan and not vice versa. What my numbers represent is the same exact player's results in the majors followed by his results in Japan, controlled so that the number of AB is the same in each place. With a nice database, you could run numbers crafted to the situation like I did for Oh. Once I got beyond Oh, I had to (with the exception of Oh's teammate for 15 years, Shigeo Nagashima), I relied on overall tendencies. People could refine Japanese park effects, since I didn't have the kind of data to do that. The data is there, all that is missing is somebody with the linguistic skill and the will to use well-established methods to do the work. I am not that person, since my Japanese skills are quite limited. I am convinced we can get a better statistical picture of Japanese players than will ever be possible for Negro Leaguers. Read my articles not only on Oh, but those which try to capture Japanese greats on a major league level. I'd love to have someone evaluate my pitcher evaluation methods, because there I had to pretty much blaze a path of my own. What I did, though, was to combine existing methods, so I think it's reasonable.

As for the Japanese Hall's American HOFers, first of all, who cares whether they've honored them or not? This discussion is about what's best for Cooperstown, not reciprocality. I've evaluated as best I can the greats of Japan, foreign and native, and my conclusion is that, given the brief time most gaijin (foreigners) stay (five years or less) how they have performed,
and the fact one must be retired for 15 years before becoming eligible for the Japanese Hall, they have, if anything, been generous to the gaijin. We'll see if that continues since some high-quality candidates are coming up, if it really matters to this discussion. Lefty O'Doul has been honored there simply for organizing several tours of major leaguers to Japan (though it did inspire the formation of the professional game there). Presently, there's also Horace Wilson who in 1872 introduced the game to Japan, and 2 Hawaiians of Japanese descent, Wally Yonamine and Tadashi Wakabayashi. Randy Bass has come within a couple of votes of election despite playing only six years there, though at a quite high level.

Now that Cooperstown has inducted 18 new Negro Leaguers, there are darned few who are the equals of the best of Japan. There are few if any Negro Leaguers who are no-doubt-about it guys, even Beckwith because of his ridiculously surly behavior.

As for the exact method, it should be by a panel of experts, preferrably an Asian panel and a Caribbean one, with the latter taking all of Central and South American candidates. Really, the two key groups are Japan and Castro's Cuba if we figure the Cuban blackball stars have already been dealt with, though that's a debatable assertion. Personally, I doubt that there's ten players outside of Cuba, blackball and Japan who have demonstrated HOF caliber play. Japan may have 15-25 players, 10 managers, and an unknown number of executives (since this last category is beyond my expertise). I wouldn't be surprised to see Castro's Cuba have 10-20 players, 5-10 managers, and who knows in the other categories, based primarily on about 45 years rather than Japan's 70. Certainly, we need to do more research before we can do this right, but it can be done, at least in the case of Japan. Once we've clarified the picture, if we're not going to do this piecemeal, then we can discuss the exact mechanism. We don't have to do it right away, especially if we make it clear we want to do it right. If we made the commitment to the goal, the research would happen. Right now, guys like me are doing what we do out of love, not the expectation of any tangible results any time soon. Give Japanese fans sight of the goal, and the motivation to do the work will soar.

My own guess is that this issue won't seriously be discussed until Ichiro is inducted, and the Hall realizes from the response of Japanese fans that inducting Japanese players might be good business. I can assure you that while I won't oppose Ichiro if he does anything remotely like what I expect he will do, I will be sure to point out he's not even in the class of Oh as a player.

Jim Albright

Bill Burgess
04-01-2006, 03:01 PM
Jim,

I don't really have a 'position'. I am open to a lot of ideas. But right now, I don't see the need, but that can change, if good ideas are forthcoming.

I have some innovative concepts which might have merit, or not. Instead of embracing the entire Japanese leagues, why not simply put a ML team in Japan? Would that team not attract the best of their leagues? All I want to accomplish is to have their best guys compete in OUR MLs.

I'd love to see our league structure expanded to put a team in Japan, Cuba and Mexico, to attract the best of those talent pools. You know, treat them like the old Negro Leagues and just raid the hell out of them. Suck them dry of their best. After that, what can they do for us? They let McDonald's/Coca Cola in, so why not American MLs?

That would be Yankee ingenuity at its corporate worst. Cherry pick their cream and treat them as minor leagues. Just a staging ground for the real thing. Wouldn't that achieve our goals to globalize baseball?

Just to show how far I'm willing to go to open the floodgates, I still would like to see females allowed into the pro ranks. Even if there were few qualified initially, eventually, some would qualify in the minors and then as bench warmers in the big time.

The first set of challenges is to set the stage by establishing the ground rules. Right now, it is still too hard for Japanese players to come here and make their marks.

I'm with you so far, but there is a world of work to be done to reach the Promised Land.

Bill Burgess

jalbright
04-01-2006, 03:10 PM
Jim,

I don't really have a 'position'. I am open to a lot of ideas. But right now, I don't see the need, but that can change, if good ideas are forthcoming.

Bill Burgess

But, Bill, if you don't see the need and aren't willing to offer even token support for what I advocate, you very much are taking a position, just like those who wanted to keep Negro Leaguers out because they weren't "qualified" because they didn't have major league experience. Some of those folks, like you have no malicious intent, but aligned themselves with the side on the moral low ground. Somehow, it calls to mind the old saw about the road to Hades paved with good intentions. This is one of those you're with me, or even by inaction, you're agin me situations because inaction favors the exclusionist status quo which now has lessened, but at the price of siphoning talent. Choose wisely, my friend.

Jim Albright

Bill Burgess
04-01-2006, 03:26 PM
But, Bill, if you don't see the need and aren't willing to offer even token support for what I advocate, you very much are taking a position, just like those who wanted to keep Negro Leaguers out because they weren't "qualified" because they didn't have major league experience.

Ha ha. Boy you're not giving me any wiggle room. OK. I see your point. If I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem. Fair enough. So, while I at this moment do not see the need to include the Japanese players, you must bear in mind that you are the only person I know of who has brought this issue to the forefront.

I really don't know that much about this issue. I didn't know that it was so hard for Japanese players to come to the US and play here. Let's just say that if I have an unhelpful 'position', I'm not committed to it, and feel flexible to evolve.

But I raised some issues which I thought you might sink your teeth into, but you refused to bite. What would be so controversial about installing a ML team in Japan, Cuba and Mexico? Cuba might have some political complications. Would a ML team in Japan act like a magnet to their best?

Bill

jalbright
04-01-2006, 07:48 PM
Ha ha. Boy you're not giving me any wiggle room. OK. I see your point. If I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem. Fair enough. So, while I at this moment do not see the need to include the Japanese players, you must bear in mind that you are the only person I know of who has brought this issue to the forefront.

I really don't know that much about this issue. I didn't know that it was so hard for Japanese players to come to the US and play here. Let's just say that if I have an unhelpful 'position', I'm not committed to it, and feel flexible to evolve.

But I raised some issues which I thought you might sink your teeth into, but you refused to bite. What would be so controversial about installing a ML team in Japan, Cuba and Mexico? Cuba might have some political complications. Would a ML team in Japan act like a magnet to their best?

Bill

You're hardly alone in being part of the problem, and indeed, you're in the group I first need to persuade.

I realize I'm out in front charging at windmills. So be it. It's nice to be sure you're right about something, even if you are in the minorty. If you want more information that doesn't come from me, please read the book The Meaning of Ichiro by Robert Whiting for more details.

I didn't bite because a) it's a side issue to the one we're discussing (namely, Cooperstown), b) politics won't let the Cuba idea happen any time soon, c) I'm not sure there's enough of an economic base to support Mexico or Cuba any time soon, d) what would be the point of only one or two Japanese teams if it did work? e) Japan would need a full division of five or six teams, and f) if those teams don't come in the form of a merger with existing Japanese teams, it would be frozen out in Japan as an American power grab. The Japanese are very good at closing ranks against a perceived threat from outsiders. Truthfully, I think an American power play of that sort would only wind up hurting MLB marketing, things like the World Baseball Cup, MLB tours to Japan, and even in drawing talent from there. So I think that such a power play would be one of the worst moves possible.

Jim Albright

Cubano100%
04-01-2006, 08:07 PM
Jim:

Cuba baseball officials keep records of Cuban players like in any other league.

jalbright
04-01-2006, 08:19 PM
Jim:

Cuba baseball officials keep records of Cuban players like in any other league.

I'm aware of that--but they're not keen on sharing, or it would be much easier to put together an encyclopedia type record of what these guys have done in the Cuban leagues. I would expect that some day we'll have fuller access to that information, but the best I can find these days is the last few seasons and career totals. We would need that fuller record to do proper evaluations, and access to that record isn't readily available.

Jim Albright

jalbright
04-02-2006, 08:23 AM
Ha ha. Boy you're not giving me any wiggle room. OK. I see your point. If I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem. Fair enough. So, while I at this moment do not see the need to include the Japanese players, you must bear in mind that you are the only person I know of who has brought this issue to the forefront.
Bill

Actually, Bill, numerous people, including Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated and several other baseball columnists have endorsed Oh. I don't know of anyone besides me who's gone further than that. However, you haven't answered one of my key questions: what's the downside of international selections using standards similar to what we've used for Negro Leaugers? It would be wise to make some changes to the official name of Cooperstown, and to change some mission statements and the like of the institution, but those things aren't major issues.

Do you agree that Cooperstown can benefit from reaching out to embrace the trend toward globalizing the game? Do you think that the majors will eventually have more official ties with Japan than at present, either in an international World Series or an eventual merger of some sort? If you do, then the step I'm advocating will be necessary at that time to please the fan base the majors would be wooing. I know that the Hall is officially separate, but it very much wants to please the majors. It would be nice if the Hall moved into the future without being made to do so, but it's safe to say it won't start with any visionary moves from within. Think about it, Bill. If it's inevitable, why not actually plan for it and do it right rather than improvise, which is certainly not one of the Hall's strengths? Even if it's not inevitable, if the move is good for the game and the Hall and doesn't have a significant downside for the Hall, what's not to like?

Another point: if you want more Negro Leaguers in the Hall, you're going to want all the allies you can get. So don't get into the mindset of it's Negro Leaguers or foreign players--it can be both. Both sides can use the support of the other, so why not make common cause?

Jim Albright

Brian McKenna
04-02-2006, 09:01 AM
.

Do you agree that Cooperstown can benefit from reaching out to embrace the trend toward globalizing the game?

Jim Albright

there is absolutely no disagreement here in that statement - it is the future and it can only make things more exciting

but there is no reason to formally induct individuals into cooperstown who never even played in the u.s. - the game is global but it is also local - each should recognize their own - we are not nor will be the only ones in the courting process - it is not america's sole responsibility to build internatonal recognition of the game - the japanese do not need us to embrace oh, the cubans, koreans, taiwanese, russians, mexicans, etc. do not need us to embrace their heros - they will shine regardless - it is not america's recognition that makes them great or even special - it is how their fans feel about them

what is inevitiable is a shared future - the wbc was exciting and, i think, an eye opener to the quality of play throughout the world - the focus should really be focused on the future - whatever that entails - let's embrace the many faces of the game, study the heros worldwide, gain an understanding of the different aspects of each community and how the game is played and administered - formal enshrinement of individuals with no ties to cooperstown will do little to foster any of this

we here at baseball fever love the history of the game and many of have spent a lifetime studying it - but step back - look around - we represent less than 1% of the population - the future needs to be built for the other 99% - the history studiers are not the future of the sport - the future is and has always been rooted in business and marketing - those principles are what is needed to capture the entertainment dollars in the future not a bunch of book hounds talking about esoteric (to the other 99%) ballplayers

Bill Burgess
04-02-2006, 09:12 AM
Another point: if you want more Negro Leaguers in the Hall, you're going to want all the allies you can get. So don't get into the mindset of it's Negro Leaguers or foreign players--it can be both. Both sides can use the support of the other, so why not make common cause?
Well, you are speaking my mother tongue here, Jim. I see the trend towards globalization too, but the question is how it will be done.

As I see it, there are several possibilities. One is for the present ML structure to expand, and try to install ML franchises into the more promising international markets. Which I identify as Japan, Mexico and Cuba. Possibly Dominican Republic or Venezuela. That is one approach. Has some costs involved with international airline expenses. But the new attendance might easily absorb those new costs.

Another possibility is to expand our present concept of the World Series. We could have an international 'post season'. The winner of the present WS could then go on to play the Cuban Champions, and while we do that, there could be a playoff series between Japan and Mexico. And the 2 winners could then meet in a grand finale series.

That would lead to play all through the month of October, and maybe beyond.

There are no doubt other possibilities that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

The Hall is an extremely political creature. I am not sure of how beholden it is to the MLs. I don't know if they are subsidized heavily or not. If they are, they are completely at their mercy. Getting changes is not easy. If baseball wanted to make things easy on the fans, they would have moved the Hall to a more assessable site, such as Chicago or St. Louis a long time ago, so the cherished treasures of the game could be enjoyed by the masses, not only those willing to go to that virtually inaccessible little hamlet in NY.

Once upon a time, the MLs had the choice of absorbing the Negro League stars, or designating them another ML and competing with them. I think they made the right choice of absorbing them. Made more sense, and was the popular choice.

Whatever direction the MLs decide to go in, will have to be sold to the BB public as popular. Will need a PR campaign, and marketing strategy. The first priority BB will think of is whether or not they can make more money on it or not. And that will depend on if they can sell the idea to the American BB fan successfully. The recent World Classic was kinda popular and seems to indicate such a development could be successfully marketed. Will the average fan still watch those international series deep into October, thereby competing with football for TV viewers? I think they would if they were perceived as viable and competitively competitive.

And in that case, I doubt if the US fan would let OUR players be siphoned off and compete for the competition, like they did in the World Classic. I may be off on that, but that's what I think.

Bill Burgess

Bill Burgess
04-02-2006, 09:43 AM
If in 1946, the black community in America had been honestly polled, as to whether or not the Negro Leagues should be absorbed into the white ML structure, or been officially designated another ML, and competed with the white ML structure, with a World Series at the end of each season, I strongly believe the blacks would have chosen integration. And I would have agreed with them. For many reasons.

To remain self-contained, would have perpetuated the separate but equal concept, and done little to force open the portals to white America.

By being absorbed, it fostered major integration of America's glamor markee sport, and served as a showcase for black athletic talent. It led to the integration of hotels, restaurants, public facilities like rest rooms, gas stations, movie theaters, etc. Once the teams were integrated, it led to understanding that can ONLY come from mixing up close and personal. Probably gave white athletes their first glimpse of blacks in a clubhouse setting. Broke the former distorted mould that blacks were 'dirty', messy, unkempt, etc.

In those days, some whites would have been aghast to let their kids swim in pools with blacks. Who knows what they might have passed to the kids?!

So, integration was a key 'battering ram' to opening up the lines of communication, understanding, and compassion born of camaraderie. It's amazing how things change when 2 former competitors are suddenly put on the same side. Brings an entirely new perspective. One wholly unfamiliar, and maybe a little bit feared.

Branch Rickey/Jackie Robinson probably little understood just how deep a penetration into American society/culture they would augur. The wedge, once driven home, can never be removed. A bell can not be unrung. Once you learn something, you can never unlearn it. You're stuck with it. Forever.

And maybe globalization could have such a similar effect on the world. We have already done that a little with so many Hispanic players in the MLs. And its all been to our good. Foreign-born blacks are supplanting home-grown blacks in the dugouts/clubhouses. And they are supplanting white home-grown ballplayers too. The market supports the survival of the athletic fittest.

Whatever brings us closer together should be embraced. It will not disappoint us. International harmony can only bring good things. Like the Olympics have taught us. There is nothing so close as 2 competitors, fighting each other to the bitter end, to make friends for life. That is the enduring value of sports. To bring us closer together.

Bill Burgess

Brian McKenna
04-02-2006, 09:46 AM
the major leagues is and probably will be for a long time the macdaddy of the sport - but that doesn't mean international competition needs to center around it - only two major leaguers participated in the wbc finals

it takes a lot - i mean a lot of money to be spent yearly for a community to support major league baseball - there are few, if any, such places with plane travel and appropriate time zone range outside the u.s. to make a viable home - and remember you pay $250 for a tv and $50 for cable to watch those games but it is the advertisers who pick up most of the bill - which advertisers are going to pay billions of dollars to feed games into cuba or wherever?

major league money puts food on the table for a lot of families - it is an established multi-billion $ industry - it cannot adapt as easily as one thinks - nor can it afford to - criticize selig and the game all you want but in the end that multi-billion $ industry has to take care of its own - MLB is a giant and the wbc played in march because that is the only time the giant could afford to allow it to happen - the international game may best be served to work around the giant - since mlb and npb are the only two such giants - it will be the others who will need to bend - in the end the millions of $ paid to mlb and npb professionals forces such

Brian McKenna
04-02-2006, 10:04 AM
If in 1946, the black community in America had been honestly polled, as to whether or not the Negro Leagues should be absorbed into the white ML structure, or been officially designated another ML, and competed with the white ML structure, with a World Series at the end of each season, I strongly believe the blacks would have chosen integration. And I would have agreed with them. For many reasons.

To remain self-contained, would have perpetuated the separate but equal concept, and done little to force open the portals to white America.

By being absorbed, it fostered major integration of America's glamor markee sport, and served as a showcase for black athletic talent. It led to the integration of hotels, restaurants, public facilities like rest rooms, gas stations, movie theaters, etc.
Bill Burgess

this is all true bill but that is not why it happened - there is no collective black community nor was there than - there is no collective white community nor was there than - that is just a point of view that people take when looking back on things historically

hank aaron (or any one of 100s of african-americans) did what was best for hank aaron - was he a member of the black community - yes - was he at the forefront of his community - his job and ability to do it probably made him so - yes - but he entered organized ball for the financial and other benefits that it could provide over and above the negro leagues - he did what was best for himself and his family - does that make him a hero - i don't know - but whatever his conscienceness of his situation - i don't think he saw himself as the leader of the black people - he saw himself as a man - a man who had a job that paid a very nice salary compared to the average american - too many historians (not that you are bill) put too much on individuals that are only evident in hindsight - baseball made hank aaron, not the other way around - he is celebrated today because of his role in playing ball - surely there are others who had less glamorous (or prosperous) roles in the civil rights movement who are ignored today - perhaps many of the parents and grandparents of bbf members for example

Bill Burgess
04-02-2006, 10:31 AM
this is all true bill but that is not why it happened - there is no collective black community nor was there than - there is no collective white community nor was there than - that is just a point of view that people take when looking back on things historically
Yes, I know that. What you say is very true. Hence, why I said, "If in 1946,"

Obviously, there was no poll. I was merely posing an abstract, theoretical hypothetical scenario of what I think the black community would have felt. Do I KNOW anything positively? No, how could I? I was merely musing what I think the black community would have felt/done. I like to pose abstract, theoretical hypothetical scenarios, if you've noticed.

Bill Burgess

jalbright
04-02-2006, 11:19 AM
there is absolutely no disagreement here in that statement - it is the future and it can only make things more exciting

but there is no reason to formally induct individuals into cooperstown who never even played in the u.s. - the game is global but it is also local - each should recognize their own - we are not nor will be the only ones in the courting process - it is not america's sole responsibility to build internatonal recognition of the game - the japanese do not need us to embrace oh, the cubans, koreans, taiwanese, russians, mexicans, etc. do not need us to embrace their heros - they will shine regardless - it is not america's recognition that makes them great or even special - it is how their fans feel about them

what is inevitiable is a shared future - the wbc was exciting and, i think, an eye opener to the quality of play throughout the world - the focus should really be focused on the future - whatever that entails - let's embrace the many faces of the game, study the heros worldwide, gain an understanding of the different aspects of each community and how the game is played and administered - formal enshrinement of individuals with no ties to cooperstown will do little to foster any of this

.....the future is and has always been rooted in business and marketing - those principles are what is needed to capture the entertainment dollars in the future not a bunch of book hounds talking about esoteric (to the other 99%) ballplayers

What I think you are missing is that if you want to collect the best baseball players in the world today, you start with the major leagues. Similarly, if you want a museum to honor the best professionals in the game, you start with Cooperstown.

If you want to expand competition among the greatest in the game, you've got to involve the major leagues. So that's one key base. One way to market to other peoples is to show respect and knowledge of their ways and past. That way, you show them you are sincere. By the same token, if the major leagues wants to market itself to Japan, isn't it wise to acknowledge the greatness of their players? Don't you think that choosing to induct Japanese players would attract favorable attention in Japan? How can one have a "shared future" when one plans to indefinitely refuse to recognize the greatness of some of the players from somewhere you supposedly want to "share" with? Isn't sharing giving a little, too? Don't you think the folks you want to "share" with might not take notice of such things? Isn't it just possible at least some of them wouldn't appreciate it? You're tying the Hall to the past in a way that isn't necessary when you exclude folks just because of their circumstances rather than the quality of their play. Certainly, the institution is about the past, but which of our positions is more about the future of the game and the Hall?

Beyond that, I have yet to hear anyone opposing inclusion even try to answer the question of what's the harm in opening the doors?

Jim Albright

Honus Wagner Rules
04-02-2006, 05:06 PM
Ha ha. Boy you're not giving me any wiggle room. OK. I see your point. If I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem. Fair enough. So, while I at this moment do not see the need to include the Japanese players, you must bear in mind that you are the only person I know of who has brought this issue to the forefront.

I really don't know that much about this issue. I didn't know that it was so hard for Japanese players to come to the US and play here. Let's just say that if I have an unhelpful 'position', I'm not committed to it, and feel flexible to evolve.

But I raised some issues which I thought you might sink your teeth into, but you refused to bite. What would be so controversial about installing a ML team in Japan, Cuba and Mexico? Cuba might have some political complications. Would a ML team in Japan act like a magnet to their best?

Bill

Bill,

I'm with Jim on this issue. I stumbled across Jim's writings on Baseball Guru a few years ago, and I was thoroughly impressed by the logic and support of his argument for Oh. Bill, I believe that if you thoroughly researched Oh's career you would come to the conclusion that Oh is one of the top-10 greatest first basemen of all time. I have him at #5, but that's just me.

Let me ask you this. Would the Hall of Fame be a better place or a diminshed place if Sadaharu Oh were inducted? I think it's as simple as that.

As for MLB teams in Japan. That may one day be possible. But there some problems:

1) No supersonic commerical airliner yet exists and I don't expect one for at least 15-20 years.

2) Japan's limit on foreign players. If MLB does expand to Japan I think it would be through the merging with the Japanese leagues. Currently those leagues have a limit of , I think 2-3 foriegn players, per team. Japan is very much into being and staying Japanese. If they were to drop this silly rule I think they could potentially rival MLB in terms of quality.

Brian McKenna
04-03-2006, 06:41 AM
i don't really see that the argument is about oh (nor is the srgument about japan) - he was a great player yes (and i thoroughly enjoy japanese baseball history) - but he at no time ever played in the united states nor did most of the rest of the world - to admit oh is to admit players from australia, china or the cayman islands which is exactly the backdoor some are trying to open - to think that american interests need to recognize a foreign player for him to be deemed great is ridiculous and even demeaning or perhaps a harsher word

"when you exclude folks just because of their circumstances rather than the quality of their play" - a man playing ball in his home country is hardly a circumstance - there is no dishonor in not playing in the united states - he is not somehow less of a player because he was born in taiwan and played ball there

there are a lot of ways to market the international game - one would be to meld everyone's hall of fame, completely erasing national identity of heros but perhaps there is little effectiveness in this - respect can be shown in a lot of ways - education is a the forefront - education is sharing

i am not sure how the hall of fame is set up - if it is a business or a not-for-profit - if the structure can afford to expand ten-fold and create new wings and even buildings to honor the other 5 or 6 billion people in the world and still make money than i say let the free market system work - go for it - let's spark more vacation revenue into the u.s. - however if the vacation revenue is not there to fund and maintain such an endeavor than it won't work - frankly because the other 99% that i referred to simply do not care

the hall of fame is not a book or a web site - it is a building or a group of buildings in cooperstown, new york - it charges admission and probably receives donations - it has costs - a lot of costs - it is easy for one to suggest for another to assume additional costs for one's own ideals - it is a whole different matter for that suggestion to somehow be economically feasible - unless there are a great deal of subsidies involved the laws of supply and demand will rule - perhaps the argument will forever lack the demand component - good luck trying - i'll enjoy the education

write it all in bold if you like - the harm is the violation of the laws of supply and demand in the u.s. and the bold spending of other's money - i would say that there is some interest in negro league baseball in the u.s. but not a whole lot - 300 million in the u.s. - very few care about it - i would be very interested in the financial benefit (if any) the hall expects from the 17 it added this year - my guess - it's a financial loser

the future is economically motivated - sentment for the past will only go so far - the game must cater to the other 99% - perhaps more international competitions and barnstorming tours will do a great deal more for the cause than a few guys sitting around talking about hyo-jo chong or hector espino

Bill Burgess
04-03-2006, 07:02 AM
So far, I don't see the argument as centered on Oh. Even if he were provably superior to Gehrig, I'm not sure he's the point. This issue transcends him.

If Jose Mendez had tried to come here from Cuba and enter the MLs, they would have not let him. Because he was a black Cuban. If Oh had tried to come here and enter the MLs, he would have been welcomed.

This is a rather involved discussion, and deserves its own thread by now. Perhaps in the International Forum. Jim?

Bill Burgess

Honus Wagner Rules
04-03-2006, 07:12 AM
So far, I don't see the argument as centered on Oh. Even if he were provably superior to Gehrig, I'm not sure he's the point. This issue transcends him.

If Jose Mendez had tried to come here from Cuba and enter the MLs, they would have not let him. Because he was a black Cuban. If Oh had tried to come here and enter the MLs, he would have been welcomed.

This is a rather involved discussion, and deserves its own thread by now. Perhaps in the International Forum. Jim?

Bill Burgess
Bill,

If a Japanese player tried to enter the majors in the late 1940s or early 1950s he would have been hated far more than Jackie Robinson ever was. Remember WW II ended in 1945 and the war was still fresh in most people's minds.

jalbright
04-03-2006, 01:26 PM
Per some requests, I've created a new thread to cover the international players in Cooperstown discussion (even though I'm not a moderator) as best I could with minimal editing. It can be found in the International Baseball section.

Jim Albright

jalbright
04-03-2006, 01:53 PM
This one is clearly relevant to Oh, so I will post it in both threads:


If Jose Mendez had tried to come here from Cuba and enter the MLs, they would have not let him. Because he was a black Cuban. If Oh had tried to come here and enter the MLs, he would have been welcomed.
Bill Burgess

While I realize Oh wouldn't have been unwelcome because of his ethnicity, like Mendez would have been, he would have been unwelcome from 1965 to 1975 because of the agreement between the majors and Japanese leagues as well as the fact he would be effectively challenging the reserve system. That means he would have been received with as much welcome as most folks would accord a rat in a dark elevator. If he had tried to come after 1975, he would have been 35, and even had he found the Nomo loophole and documented the case in advance as carefully as Nomo's representatives did (questionable), I think that baseball would have yawned and walked away because of his age combined with the problems welcoming him would have caused in the relationship with the Japanese leagues.

Jim Albright

Brian McKenna
09-01-2006, 09:43 AM
Five-year-old Sadaharu Oh survived the atomic bombing of Tokyo in August 1945. Fourteen years later, he came to the Yomiuri (Tokyo) Giants as a pitcher after receiving a $60,000 signing bonus. The son of a Chinese father and Japanese mother, Oh initially had a hard time finding acceptance from Japanese fans. That would change after he was converted to a first baseman and began punching out home runs.

Oh, bigger than most Japanese at 5’11” and 175 pounds, found it difficult to hit the curveball. Part of the problem was that as a high school student the natural lefthander was forced to bat righthanded. The Giants re-converted him. It wasn’t until 1962 that he began to dominate Japanese pitching after adopting a “flamingo” batting stance based on his studies of samurai swordsmanship. Oh would stand with his right foot suspended in the air awaiting the pitch. Batting instructor Hiroshi Arakawa, a renowned swordsman, told him to do so in an attempt to eliminate the hitch in his swing. Here, Oh would stand for countless hours in front of a mirror until he mastered the technique. He also began his penchant for taking 30-40 minute batting practices.

Oh proceeded to tear the cover off the ball. In 22 Central League seasons, 1959-80, he collected:
- 868 home runs, all-time best, 211 better than second place
- 2,170 runs batted in, all-time best
- 2,786 career hits, third best
- A .301 batting average
- 19 straight seasons with 30+ home runs
- Averaging 45 home runs a year between 1962-74
- 4 homers in a game, 1963
- Five batting championships: 1968-70, 73-74
- 13 RBI crowns: 1962, 64-67, 71-78
- 15 home run titles: 1962-74, 76-77
- 2 Triple Crowns: 1973-74
- Season home run record, 55 in 1964
- 9 MVP awards: 1964-65, 67, 69-70, 73-74, 76-77.
One must also consider that only 130 games make up an entire season in Japan.

All the while, the Giants were the perennial pennant winners, copping the crown in 1959, ‘61, 1963, 1965-73 and ‘76-77. Hitting behind Oh in the clean-up slot was the revered third baseman Shigeo Nagashima, a combo that rivals Ruth and Gehrig.

Oh’s 868 home runs came in only 9,250 at bats. He left the yard one in every 10.7 at bats. Henry Aaron on the other hand smacked one every 16.4 at bats. The Sultan of Swat hit a dinger every 11.8 at bats.

Williamsburg2599
09-01-2006, 06:40 PM
Five-year-old Sadaharu Oh survived the atomic bombing of Tokyo in August 1945. Fourteen years later, he came to the Yomiuri (Tokyo) Giants as a pitcher after receiving a $60,000 signing bonus. The son of a Chinese father and Japanese mother, Oh initially had a hard time finding acceptance from Japanese fans. That would change after he was converted to a first baseman and began punching out home runs.

Oh, bigger than most Japanese at 5’11” and 175 pounds, found it difficult to hit the curveball. Part of the problem was that as a high school student the natural lefthander was forced to bat righthanded. The Giants re-converted him. It wasn’t until 1962 that he began to dominate Japanese pitching after adopting a “flamingo” batting stance based on his studies of samurai swordsmanship. Oh would stand with his right foot suspended in the air awaiting the pitch. Batting instructor Hiroshi Arakawa, a renowned swordsman, told him to do so in an attempt to eliminate the hitch in his swing. Here, Oh would stand for countless hours in front of a mirror until he mastered the technique. He also began his penchant for taking 30-40 minute batting practices.

Oh proceeded to tear the cover off the ball. In 22 Central League seasons, 1959-80, he collected:
- 868 home runs, all-time best, 211 better than second place
- 2,170 runs batted in, all-time best
- 2,786 career hits, third best
- A .301 batting average
- 19 straight seasons with 30+ home runs
- Averaging 45 home runs a year between 1962-74
- 4 homers in a game, 1963
- Five batting championships: 1968-70, 73-74
- 13 RBI crowns: 1962, 64-67, 71-78
- 15 home run titles: 1962-74, 76-77
- 2 Triple Crowns: 1973-74
- Season home run record, 55 in 1964
- 9 MVP awards: 1964-65, 67, 69-70, 73-74, 76-77.
One must also consider that only 130 games make up an entire season in Japan.

All the while, the Giants were the perennial pennant winners, copping the crown in 1959, ‘61, 1963, 1965-73 and ‘76-77. Hitting behind Oh in the clean-up slot was the revered third baseman Shigeo Nagashima, a combo that rivals Ruth and Gehrig.

Oh’s 868 home runs came in only 9,250 at bats. He left the yard one in every 10.7 at bats. Henry Aaron on the other hand smacked one every 16.4 at bats. The Sultan of Swat hit a dinger every 11.8 at bats.
Do you mean the fire bombing of Tokyo?

Williamsburg2599
02-13-2007, 05:39 PM
19464

Japanese players hoist their team manager Sadaharu Oh after their 10-6 victory over Cuba in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic at Petco Park in San Diego, California, on Monday 20 March 2006.

Williamsburg2599
02-13-2007, 05:42 PM
19465

Professional baseball slugger Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants blasts his 755th career homer at Tokyo's Korakuen Stadium, August 31, to tie the home run record made by Hank Aaron of the United States. Oh slammed the homer in the first inning in a game between the Giants and the Taiyo Whales. Catcher is Hisaaki Fukshima of the Whales.

Williamsburg2599
02-13-2007, 05:43 PM
19466

Original caption: Tokyo: Japan's best known slugger Sadaharu Oh, (L), of the Yomiuri Giants, is celebrated by first base coach Yukihiko Machida, as he runs on the diamond after belting his 800th career homer in a game with Taiyo Whales at Korakuen Stadium here 8/30.

Williamsburg2599
02-13-2007, 05:44 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXYtJUFzGp4

Honus Wagner Rules
02-18-2007, 11:57 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXYtJUFzGp4
Great video! :clapping

Agent001
07-01-2007, 04:15 PM
I am having difficulty in finding stats for Mr. Oh. I know he had 2700 hits and 868 homers.

I was wondering if someone could give me the folowing stats for him:
At-bats
BA
Runs
RBIs
OBP
Slugging%
OPS+
fielding average

I appreciate anyone taking the time to do this.

Honus Wagner Rules
07-01-2007, 04:28 PM
Here you go:



Yr Ag Tm Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K AVG OBP SLG TB
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1959 20 YOM CL 94 193 18 31 7 1 7 25 24 72 .161 .253 .316 61
1960 21 YOM CL 130 426 49 115 19 3 17 71 67 101 .270 .369 .448 191
1961 22 YOM CL 127 396 50 100 25 6 13 53 64 72 .253 .357 .444 176
1962 23 YOM CL 134 497 79 135 28 2 38 85 72 99 .272 .364 .565 281
1963 24 YOM CL 140 478 111 146 30 5 40 106 123 64 .305 .448 .640 306
1964 25 YOM CL 140 472 110 151 24 0 55 119 119 81 .320 .457 .720 340
1965 26 YOM CL 135 428 104 138 19 1 42 104 138 58 .322 .488 .666 285
1966 27 YOM CL 129 396 111 123 14 1 48 116 142 51 .311 .493 .715 283
1967 28 YOM CL 133 426 94 139 22 3 47 108 130 65 .326 .484 .723 308
1968 29 YOM CL 131 442 107 144 28 0 49 119 121 72 .326 .471 .722 319
1969 30 YOM CL 130 452 112 156 24 0 44 103 111 61 .345 .474 .690 312
1970 31 YOM CL 129 425 97 138 24 0 47 93 119 48 .325 .472 .713 303
1971 32 YOM CL 130 434 92 120 18 2 39 101 121 65 .276 .434 .597 259
1972 33 YOM CL 130 456 104 135 19 0 48 120 108 43 .296 .431 .654 298
1973 34 YOM CL 130 428 111 152 18 0 51 114 124 41 .355 .500 .755 323
1974 35 YOM CL 130 385 105 128 18 0 49 107 158 44 .332 .527 .761 293
1975 36 YOM CL 128 393 77 112 14 0 33 96 123 62 .285 .455 .573 225
1976 37 YOM CL 122 400 99 130 11 1 49 123 125 45 .325 .486 .725 290
1977 38 YOM CL 130 432 114 140 15 0 50 124 126 37 .324 .477 .706 305
1978 39 YOM CL 130 440 91 132 20 0 39 118 114 43 .300 .444 .611 269
1979 40 YOM CL 120 407 73 116 15 0 33 81 89 48 .285 .413 .565 230
1980 41 YOM CL 129 444 59 105 10 0 30 84 72 47 .236 .343 .462 205
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS 2831 9250 1967 2786 422 25 868 2170 2390 1319 .301 .445 .634 5862


I'm not sure if anyone has ever calculated Oh's OPS+. You may want to ask our resident Japanese baseball expert, Jim Albright, about that.