Throwback Thursday: Sadaharu Oh

Possibly the best power hitter ever.

Why we like him: When you think of the greatest power hitters of all time, certain names invariably come up. Ruth. Aaron. Griffey. Not Rafael Belliard. And most of the time, no one even thinks to mention the name Sadaharu Oh. Oh was the high kickin', big hittin' first baseman for Japan's Yomiuri Giants, who are occasionally mistakenly called the "Tokyo Giants" quite often by arrogant uneducated American sports fans even though that name has not been used for years.

The truth is, Oh could rake. Oh played 22 seasons for the Giants, and finished with a career that any major leaguer who has ever played would gladly take. The key highlight of Oh's career are, of course, his 868 home runs. He hit those home runs in 2,831 games too. Hank Aaron blasted his 755 homers in 3,298 games. Say what you will about the level of competition (and it's a valid argument), but hitting bombs as a clip like that is impressive even in Little League.

Laides and gentlemen, Sadaharu Oh, ballplayer.

Granny Hamner

Remember him? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Why we like him: Is there a better name in baseball history than Granny Hamner? Probably. But there aren't many. Granville Wilbur Hamner enjoyed a 17-year career that ended for good in 1962. He ended up with a .262 average and 104 home runs. For his career, he led the league in four categories in four different years: at bats in 1949, games played in 1950, sacrifices in 1952, and double plays in 1957.

In any event, he was a three-time All Star (1952-1954), so he was a player that many may remember. They'd better remember him with a name like Granny Hamner.

Ladies and gentlemen, Granny Hamner, ballplayer.

Jerome Walton

1989 Bowman #295 Jerome Walton Front
A fine investment.

Why we like him: Walton was the 1989 National League Rookie of the Year. Seriously. It even prompted my dad to schedule a visit to a baseball card store to pretty much force me to purchase his rookie card. He won the award, in all honesty, just because there were really no other deserving candidates. Walton had a pretty good rookie year, sure (.293-5-46 with 24 steals), but the rest of the crop of NL rookies was pretty devoid of impressive stats. He beat out teammate Dwight Smith for the award who posted a better average (.324), more home runs (9), and more RBI (52), but he played in 7 fewer games and had over 130 fewer at-bats.

Walton lasted 10 major league seasons and was never terrible. Believe me, there were far worse options for a platoon player or pinch hitter out there. He even batted .340 for Atlanta in 1996 over 47 at-bats. He could definitely hit for average, but he never really hit for exceptional power, which was a problem for an outfielder looking for everyday work in the 'roided up '90s. He called it a career at 32.

Ladies and gentlemen, Jerome Walton, ballplayer.