NPB single-season home run record holder Balentien retires

NPB single-season home run record holder Balentien retires
24/01/2022
The 37-year old slugger became the first NPB single-season 60-home run hitter in 2013. He represented the Netherlands at the 2004 Olympics, the inaugural WBSC Premier12 and the World Baseball Classic 2013 and 2017.

Wladmir Balentien, the first 60-home run hitter in a Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) season, has announced his retirement from Japanese baseball.

The 37-year-old native of Curaçao, nicknamed Coco, broke the NPB single-season home run record of 55 while playing for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in 2013. He earned Central League MVP honours at the end of the season.

During his seasons with the Swallows, Balentien was the home run leader also in 2011 and 2012 and participated in six All-Star Games. He helped the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks win the 2020 Japan Series.

Balentien hit 1,001 hits, including 301 home runs, over 1,104 NPB games, and enjoyed eight 30+ home run seasons.

Before starring in Japan, Balentien appeared in 170 Major League Baseball (MLB) games for the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds.

He represented the Netherlands in the Athens 2004 Olympics, the WBSC Premier12 2015 and the World Baseball Classic 2013 and 2017. He was voted to the All-Tournament Team at the World Baseball Classic 2017.