Bruce Wallace of the Los Angeles Times interviews Sadaharu Oh, Japan's alltime home run leader with 868. Oh comes across as an open-minded man who recognizes how his accomplishments fit into baseball as a whole.
"I am the man who hit the most home runs — in Japan," he says diplomatically. "The Japanese media want to describe me as the true record holder. But I never considered myself that way.
Oh also is not one to condemn Barry Bonds.
"Yes, I feel sorry for him," Oh says of Bonds. "At that time, steroids were not banned. Did all players who took steroids hit more home runs?
"Of course they're not a good thing, and young players should be told they're bad," he says. "[Bonds] made a mistake, and he has to accept that steroids will follow him the rest of his life. But I suppose he's not taking them now, and he's still hitting home runs at age what, 43, 44?" (Bonds turns 43 this month.)
"You can't change what happened in the past. And the fact is: He hit those home runs," Oh says.
Oh is back managing the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks after missing much of the 2006 season after having his stomach removed due to cancer.