The Sadaharu Oh Story - Part III
Last in a three-part series
TOKYO — The one big black mark on Sadaharu Oh’s reputation was, of course, the unsportsmanlike behavior of the pitchers on his team whenever foreign batsmen threatened his single-season home run record of 55.
The phenomenon had first surfaced in 1985, when American Randy Bass playing for the Hanshin Tigers, who went into the last game of the season — against the Oh-managed Giants at Korakuen Stadium — with 54 home runs.
Bass was walked intentionally four times on four straight pitches and would have been walked a fifth, had he not reached out and poked a pitch far outside the plate into the outfield.
Oh denied ordering his pitchers to walk Bass, but Keith Comstock, an American pitcher for Yomiuri reported afterward that a certain Giants coach imposed a fine of $1,000 for every strike Giants pitchers threw to Bass.