Wladimir Balentien breaks Sadaharu Oh’s Japanese home run record


Over the last 25 years, several gaijin (foreign) players have approached Sadaharu Oh's single season record of 55 home runs. However, the players have gotten nothing to hit once they tied the record. In 2001, Tuffy Rhodes tied the record and was walked repeartedly by teams managed by Oh. The same thing happened in 2002 to Alex Cabrera.

It didn't happen in 2013 with Wladimir Balentien. The former Mariner and Red hit his record-breaking 56th homer, and later added #57, on Sunday in the Yakult Swallows' game with the Hanshin Tigers. There's plenty of controvery around Balentien's record, as NPB officials admitted they changed the ball prior to this season without telling players, adn that home runs across the league have gone up as a result. Balentien hit 31 homers in each of 2011 and 2012 with Yakult in 140 and 106 games respectively. This year, he's smashed 57 in just 113 games for the last place Swallows.

Look at that pitch he hit for #56. Clearly, it wasn't something out of the zone. After years of questionable behavior, teams realized there was no stopping the Balentien freight train, and that they should just bite their lip and pitch him normally. Congratulations, Wladimir.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.