Sunday, July 26, 2015

Card Of The Week July 26

I was looking at the all time leaders for grand slams in NPB that Yakyu Baka published the other day due to Takeya Nakamura tying Sadaharu Oh for the lead and there was a name that stuck out at me as being an odd one on the list.  I'll reproduce the list here:

Player GS
Oh, Sadaharu 15
Nakamura, Takeya 15
Fujii, Yasuo 14
Nakamura, Norihiro 14
Komada, Norihiro 13
Eto, Akira 13
Kokubo, Hiroki 13
Eto, Shinichi 12
Nomura, Katsuya 12
Iguchi, Tadahito 12

Maybe it's not obvious - let's do the list again with each player's career home run totals:

Player GS HRs
Oh, Sadaharu 15 868
Nakamura, Takeya 15 301
Fujii, Yasuo 14 282
Nakamura, Norihiro 14 404
Komada, Norihiro 13 195
Eto, Akira 13 364
Kokubo, Hiroki 13 413
Eto, Shinichi 12 367
Nomura, Katsuya 12 657
Iguchi, Tadahito 12 241

What surprised me is that Norihiro Komada is tied for fifth on the list despite having hit less than 200 home runs in his career.  Komada's grand slams account for almost 7% of all his home runs - that number is 5% or less for everyone else.  He only hit more than 20 home runs in a season twice in his 18 year career.  That's just a crazy number of grand slams for that few home runs.

Looking into this a little deeper, I learned that Komada was the first player in Japan to hit a grand slam in his first at bat in NPB.  His nickname was "Manrui Otoko" or "Grand Slam Man".

Here's a 1994 Kanebo card of Komada (#027).  Komada left the Giants as a free agent following the 1993 season and signed with the Baystars - I assume this picture is from the press conference announcing the signing.  

1 comment:

Sean said...

Interesting statistical oddity there. Grand slams seem to produce a few, I guess mainly because the only thing that differentiates them from a regular home run (from the player`s perspective) is random chance. I remember Don Mattingly setting the major league record in 1987 with 6 in a season. He never hit a grand slam before that year and never hit another one after.