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Sadaharu Oh Biography

Zen And The Art Of The Flamingo Stance, Home Run Record, From Player To Manager To Hall Of FameSELECTED WRITINGS BY OH:


Japanese baseball player

Undoubtedly the greatest hitter in Japanese baseball, Sadaharu Oh holds the all-time record for most home runs in his career-an astonishing 868, surpassing the U.S. record of 755 held by Hank Aaron. Oh won 9 Gold Glove awards and 9 most valuable player awards, and played on 11 championship-winning teams and in 18 All-Star games. He combined martial arts, Zen, and baseball to achieve his poise, stamina, and phenomenal sports record, all chronicled in his autobiography, A Zen Way of Baseball. A long-time player for the Yomiuri Giants, upon retirement Oh became manager of the team,

Sadaharu Oh

then went on to manage the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. Today, Oh promotes good health.

Sadaharu Oh overcame shyness and his heritage to shine as Japan's all-time greatest hitter. His love for baseball began when he pitched for his Waseda High School baseball team, which won Japan's National Invitation High School Tournament.

In 1959 Oh joined the professional team, the Yomiuri Giants, where he would spend his 22-year career. The year he joined, he signed a $60,000 bonus as a pitcher. This move, compounded with his being the son of a Chinese father and a Japanese mother, made him seem like an outsider to Japanese fans. The rookie lefthanded pitcher and first baseman hit .161 that first year. He was switched to first base because he had difficulty hitting curveballs. Oh was also plagued by a hitch in his swing.


(With David Falkner) Sadaharu Oh: A Zen Way of Baseball. New York, NY: Random House, 1984.

Sketch by Lorraine Savage

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Famous Sports StarsBaseball