Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sadaharu Oh Passes Hank Aaron With HR 756 September 3, 1977

Courtesy of
Japanese Baseball Cards
On this day in Baseball History September 3, 1977: With no outs and one runner on in the bottom of the third inning, Sadaharu Oh belts 3-2 pitch over the right field fence by starting pitcher Yasumiro Suzuki of the Yakult Swallows for career home run 756 passing Hank Aaron's record of 755 home runs at Tokyo's Korakuen Stadium.

According to the article Oh Passes Aaron's Homer Mark from the Ocala Star-Banner of September 4, 1977 on Google News, Oh was quoted as saying:
I was relieved when I hit the home run." Oh said "I knew it was a home run the moment I connected. It was a sinker
Hank Aaron, ever the classy gentleman had a video message recorded for Oh that was broadcast on Japanese television:
I would have loved to have been there tonight to put a crown on top of his head because he his quite a gentleman and the people of Japan have a lot to be proud of...I want to wish (Oh) the best luck in the world." said Aaron "I know he's capable of hitting a lot more home runs."
Aaron and Oh were quite familiar with each other from the home run derby against each other during the 1974 Goodwill Series between the New York Mets and the Yomiuri Giants. Aaron won that matchup 10-9.

Oh would retire at the end of the 1980 baseball season with a total of 868 home runs. Here is an interesting infographic on Sadaharu Oh's home runs milestones, compared to major league home run hitters:

For Further Reading:
- Click here for the article Oh Passes Aaron's Homer Mark from the Ocala Star-Banner dated September 4, 1977 from Google News
- Click here for the article Oh Surpasses Aaron With 756th Home Run by Andrew Malcolm of the New York Times dated September 4, 1977
- Click here for the article Hank Aaron swings away again in Japan by Dave Omauer from Stars and Stripes dated July 23, 1984
- Click here for the article Sadaharu Oh by Peter C. Bjarkman from the SABR Baseball Biography Project