With his 55th home run of the 2013 season last night, former Mariner and Reds player Wladimir Balentien tied the single-season Japanese record for long balls shared by Sadaharu Oh, Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrrera.
With 22 more games to go, Wladimir needs one more “Balentien Blast” to become the Barry Bonds of Japan. However, as Sports Illustrated’s Cliff Corcoran points out, the feat might not be as easy at it seems. In reluctance to letting Oh’s 1964 record be broken, as he is seen as the Babe Ruth of Japanese baseball, and a bias towards foreign players, Rhodes and Cabrrera both failed to receive pitches to hit after slugging their 55th four-baggers.
In addition to his 55 touch-em-alls, Balentien’s 2013 slash line currently stands at a ridiculous.340/.464/.820 for the Yakult Swallows. In parts of three major league seasons, Balentien hit 15 homers with a .264/.352/.427 slash line.
To address the elephant in the room, Balentien was not one of the thirteen names linked to the Biogenesis scandal.