For most Westerners, the name Sadaharu Oh means little unless put in the context of a Beastie Boys song , but in Japan, Oh's name is met with the type of reverence generally reserved (in America, anyway) for those much more influential than baseball players.
With 868 career home runs, Oh is Japan's all-time dinger king (not to mention the all-time leader in runs, RBI, walks, on-base percentage -- the list goes on), and in the 1964 season, he hit a record 55 home runs for the Yomiuri Giants, with whom he spent his entire 22-year career.
For 49 years, Oh's record has stood unbroken -- though not without controversy. However, it appears 2013 will finally be the year that someone sets a new mark. And that man will be major league flameout Wladimir Balentien.
Once a highly-regarded prospect in the Mariners system, Balentien hit 15 career home runs in 170 games between Seattle and Cincinnati before heading to the Far East. Since 2011, he has been making a living as a power-...