Randy Bass played 130 Major League games over six seasons for five different teams. He accumulated 69 hits (nice), 9 home runs, a .212 career batting average, and a .610 OPS. Not great! Unable to find more work in America, Bass moved to Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League. From 1983-1989, Randy Bass became one of the best hitters in NPBL history. He finished his six year career in Japan with a .337 batting average, 202 career home runs, and a 1.078 OPS. A bit different from his MLB stats.
Now I don’t know if he has a museum and a play dedicated to him like Stephon Marbury in China, but Randy Bass certainly has some decent stories from his time in Japan.
He Was Denied The Chance To Break The Single-Season Home Run Record
In 1985, playing for the Hanshin Tigers, he was sitting at 54 home runs going into the final game of the season. The Tigers were playing the Yomiuri Giants coached by the Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh. In each of Bass’ at bats, Oh, instructed his pitchers to intentionally walk Bass, thus denying him the opportunity to tie or break his record. “Someone” on the Giants coaching staff even said they would fine Giants’ pitchers $1,000 for each strike they threw to Bass. This is such a pussy-ass move. And even more ridiculous, this wasn’t the only time Oh pulled this shit. He did it again in 2001 and 2002. He denied involvement in any of these but after the 2002 incident, was quoted saying “if you’re going to break a record, you should do it by more than one. Do it by a lot.” What the fuck kind of logic is that? It’s not like the people trying to break the record are trying to just barely beat the record. It’s a record to begin with because it’s hard to break, idiot. But let’s get back to Bass.
He Was The Center of the “Curse of the Colonel”
Still in the ’85 season, the Tigers, led by Bass won the Japan Series. Apparently in a weird tradition during their championship parade, Tigers’ fans would have people resembling the players jump into a river. Well since the fans didn’t have a white person readily available to impersonate Bass, they took a statue of Colonel Sanders and threw that in the river because that was the only bearded white guy they could find. Really ignorant of the Japanese to just think that all white people look alike. After the parade when they threw the Colonel Sanders in the river, the Tigers went on an 18 year streak where they finished in last or second to last place in their division. They didn’t win their division until 2003 when they were led by the late Hideki Irabu after his return to Japan.
The Owner of the Tigers Committed Suicide Because Bass Exploited Their Corruption
In 1989, Bass was 34 years old, the Tigers were ass, and most importantly, Bass’ son was sadly diagnosed with brain cancer. At that point, Bass decided to hang ’em up and head back to the States to understandably be with his family. He requested a leave from the Tigers which they granted. However a few months later, the Tigers said they never said granted Bass a leave and fired him for being absent. This would have cost Bass a lot of money had he been “fired,” which was probably the last thing Bass needed considering what his family was going through. Bass then produced a tape that proved that the Tigers did indeed grant him a leave and were lying. The Giants’ general manager was disgraced and ended up killing himself.
He Became A Member of the Oklahoma State Senate from 2004-2018
I really don’t have anything to add there. But he was and is an active member in his community and often makes trips back to Japan as an ambassador.
All in all, a pretty interesting and neat story. And to finish it off, here’s a sweet video dedicated to Randy Bass, completely in Japanese.
TBH, Randy Bass had a pretty sweet swing.