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Oh Was One

Discussion in the Pro Yakyu History forum
Oh Was One
I recall meeting Sadaharu Oh at a reception in Tokyo back in the late 1970s. I believe it was hosted at the Akasaka Prince Hotel by the organizers of a visit of American all-stars who included Dave Parker and Paul Molitar, among others. (I remember those two especially because Parker was the most unfriendly and Molitar was the friendliest.) Cappy Harada was there, of course, but I'm afraid I've forgotten the rest.

I approached Oh fully aware of his historic place in baseball history, and tried to make small talk in my poor Japanese. He was extremely gracious, and never seemed to be looking for someone more important to talk to, but let me use up my Japanese at my own pace.

I think he broke the HR record a year later, but I could have that mixed up. Anyway, Amb. Mike Mansfield (and there was a real "Giant"), was at another event giving some remarks when he was handed a note to inform him of Oh's record, news of which was already circulating through the largely Japanese audience. Mansfield, a man of few words as we all know, looked up and said "Oh made it." The crowd burst out into tremendous applause, which was appropriate enough, but we later learned had been partly sparked by the common misunderstanding that Mansfield had attempted to say, "o-medeto" (congratulations).

Three or four years later, I ran into Oh again, mentioned that I had met him once before, and to my utter astonishment, he cited the occasion! I think the poor quality of my Japanese, or the fact that I was brave enough to inflict it on him, must have been memorable.

When you go to a lot of receptions overseas, you meet a lot of people. Most of them are just doing a job. A few stand out for one reason or another. Oh was one.
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