[7/27/2016] Tetsuto Yamada: first to thirty home runs in either league

Tetsuto Yamada blasted his thirtieth home run of the season during a game against the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium on July 26. He is the first player in either league to hit thirty home runs this year.

Yamada joined Wladimir Balentien (2012-2013) as the only Yakult players to hit thirty home runs in a season before anyone else in either league. He is the sixth player (accomplished nine times) to accomplish the feat during the season they turn twenty-four or younger, first since Hideki Matsui in 1998. He joined Yoshiyuki Iwamoto (1951, thirty-one), Futoshi Nakanishi (1954, thirty-one), Koji Akiyama (1990, thirty-five), and Kazuo Matsui (2003, thirty-three) as the only players in NPB history to hit thirty or more home runs the year after they recorded a triple-three (thirty home runs, thirty stolen bases, .300 or better batting average).

Yamada was first to thirty home runs in the Central League last year. He is the first player to thirty home runs before anyone else in their own league in two or more more consecutive seasons since Balentien (2011-2013); first Japanese player since Takeya Namaura (2008-2009); and first Japanese player in the Central League since Hideki Matsui (1997-1998).

Yamada is the ninth player in Yakult Swallows franchise history to hit thirty or more home runs in two or more consecutive seasons, first since Balentien (2011-2014). Only three other players are Japanese: Katsuo Osugi (1977-1978), Takahiro Ikeyama (1988-1992), and Akinori Iwamura (2004-2006).

Source: Sponichi 7/27/2016, Sanspo 7/27/2016

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