The China Post news staff
A plaque for the latest inductee to Taiwan Baseball Hall of Fame was unveiled at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium late last month as part of the celebrations to welcome the world’s all-time home run king, Sadaharu Oh (���s�v), to become the latest member to the hall. Oh joined four inductees of the debut Hall of Fame in 2014, namely: Tseng Chi-en (������), Hung Teng-sheng (�x�˳�), Hsieh Kuo-cheng (�°꫰) and Yen Hsiao-chang (�Y����), to become the fifth Taiwan Baseball Hall of Famer. They were all recognized for their excellence in playing, managing and serving the sport of the country. The Taiwan Baseball Hall of Fame Association (�x�W�βy�W�H�����|), which organized the event, said it is still trying to invite Oh to visit Taiwan to personally receive the rare honor. The China Post believes that Oh’s induction to the hall is a well-deserved honor to the baseball giant who enjoys worldwide fame and he is more than qualified to become a Taiwan Baseball Hall of Famer, though he spent most of his life in Japan. For baseball fans around the globe, Oh is the name of a baseball legend that you have to know even though you may have never seen him play.
Holder of the world’s all-time home run record, Oh, who is known for his flamingo-like batting stance, has devoted his whole life to promoting the sport of baseball. Joining the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball in 1959, Oh spent his whole career �X 22 seasons and 2,831 games �X with the same team, before his retirement in 1980. Oh and another explosive Giants’ batter, Shigeo Nagashima, formed the feared ��O-N Cannon.�� Upon his retirement, he left with a record of 868 home runs, making him the world’s all-time home run king. Following retirement, Oh had served as manager of the Giants, manager of Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, and later the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He also managed Japan to victory in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. He was inducted to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994 and now serves as an honorary advisor to the Hawks and the club leader of the Meikyikai, or the Japanese Golden Players Club. Oh’s professional accomplishments in baseball are well-known to the world. However, many people have very little knowledge of his long-time contribution to Taiwan’s baseball development. Born to a Chinese father and a Japanese mother, Oh, known as Wang Chen-chih in Taiwan, has a deep connection to the country despite spending most of his life in Japan. He was born with Republic of China citizenship, which he still holds today, having never become a Japanese national. With his genuine affection for Taiwan, he has actively engaged in promoting baseball in the country over the past 40 years and helped to cultivate many local young baseball talents. He visited Taiwan with the Giants for spring training as early as in 1968, a trip that had a tremendous impact on Taiwan’s professional baseball. He was also the one who made the ceremonial first pitch to inaugurate Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in 1990. Following the devastating Sept. 21 earthquake in 1999 that claimed more than 2,400 lives and injured another 11,300, Oh immediately donated money to support disaster relief efforts and even flew to Taiwan to offer assistance in person. He is also the first sportsman that was appointed by R.O.C. government as an Ambassador-at-Large. On Feb. 5, 2009, President Ma Ying-jeou conferred the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon to Oh in recognition of his contributions to the sport of baseball and to promote friendship between Taiwanese and Japanese people. We thank Oh for his decades-long contributions to Taiwan, not only in the baseball world, but also in his capacity as a champion of friendship between Japanese and Taiwanese. Devoting nearly six decades to the sport, Oh is without doubt a life-long baseballer and a more-than-qualified Taiwan Baseball Hall of Famer.