Triple Crown star Murakami eyes future jump to majors

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Munetaka Murakami speaks at a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Monday.
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Munetaka Murakami

Coming off one of the most productive seasons in Japan pro baseball history, Tokyo Yakult Swallows slugger Munetaka Murakami said he would see if his skills would translate in the major leagues.

“I would like to try,”

Murakami said Monday of making the jump across the Pacific.

“If I had the chance to go, I would like to go as soon as possible.”

The 22-year-old, who became the youngest-ever player in Japan to win the batting Triple Crown, was speaking at a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo.

Reflecting on his success, he said,
“I was able to achieve what I had set out to do in this season.”

Murakami hit 56 home runs to set a single-season home run record for a Japan-born player in the Japan pro leagues, surpassing the 55 homers set by Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants in 1964. He also led the Central League with a .318 batting average and 134 runs batted in, making him the first Triple Crown winner in 18 years.

“[When I hit 50 homers,] I set a goal that I would be satisfied if I hit about five more,” he said.
“I think that if I had set a goal of hitting 60 or 61 homers, I would have achieved a different result, so that is one regret.”