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[9/16/2013] Sponichi talks to Tuffy Rhodes

by on Sep.16, 2013 @ 9:18 pm, under NPB

Where are they now

Tuffy Rhodes currently lives with his father in the outskirts Houston, Texas.  He worked as a coach for his son's high school basketball team this spring.  He still talks to former teammate Norihiro Nakamura.

"I gained about fifteen kilograms since I retired," said Rhodes.  "I am not sure what I will do next, but my son is off to college and I would like to try coaching baseball.  I would also like to go back to Japan if I have the chance."

Source: Sponichi 9/16/2013

Sponichi has also posted portions of an interview with Rhodes:

Balentien set a new home run record.

I want to congratulate him.  A lot of things have to come together for a hitter to break the home run record.  I believe everything worked out well for Balentien for him to set a new record.

In 2001, pitchers avoided pitching to you because they wanted to protect [Sadaharu] Oh's record.  The commissioner had to issue a statement.

It was Daiei (September 30) and Lotte (September 29) that did not pitch to me.  But I did have opportunities.

Daiei's manager was Oh.

I have no bad feeling towards Oh.  In Japan, it is the catcher and battery coach that make decisions.  Actually, on that day, Oh gave me three autographed baseballs to commemorate the fifty-five home runs.  I treasure those balls to this day.

What did Oh mean to your career?

He spoke to me a few times.  I actually tried to bat with one leg at one time.  I saw a video that mentioned Oh using a sword to practice when he was young.  I tried to copy him and went to a store in Osaka Minami to buy a katana, but was told I could not without a license.

It was a big deal in the US when Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's record in 1961.

That did not have anything to do with race or nationality.  It was about not wanting to break the record the great Babe Ruth set.  With Oh's record, it was only Japanese people should be able to break the record.  But in 2010, Ichiro's single-season hit record was broken by a foreign player.  I think things are changing in Japan.

Source: Sponichi 9/16/2013