Sadaharu Oh (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Oh hit more home runs, 868, than any other man in organized baseball while playing twenty-two years with the Yomiuri (Tokyo) Giants in the Central League in Japan. When he retired, he also held the Japanese career records in runs batted in, runs scored, and total bases as well as the second highest marks in doubles and games played.
Sadaharu Oh was born in the Sumida-ku section of Tokyo, Japan, on May 10, 1940. His father was a Chinese immigrant restaurant owner. During the war, his father was imprisoned for several months and permanently scarred during questioning as a possible Chinese agent. Oh is still technically a Chinese national with permanent working rights in Japan. His heritage and the availability of food gave him the size (5 feet, 10 inches, and 175 pounds) that made him very large for Japanese players and certainly contributed to his power hitting.
The family survived the fire-bombing of Tokyo, though their restaurant was destroyed and had to be reestablished after the war. During the occupation, Oh’s elder brother was a star on an amateur baseball team and introduced him to baseball. Since he had never seen a left-handed batter, Oh first batted right-handed even though he pitched left-handed. When Oh was in the eighth grade, he was converted to a left-handed batter at the suggestion of Hiroshi Arakawa, a major league outfielder.
Oh’s father had high...
(The entire section is 2422 words.)
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