Muscle Sport Magazine

Shohei Ohtani To Perform All-Star Double Duty

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In today’s game, it is a rarity if a pitcher can even maintain a batting average over .200 and not be an automatic out. That is in the National League, mind you, since they (thankfully) have still resisted the designated hitter rule. Over in the American League – where they adopted the DH back in 1973 – pitchers only have to worry about holding a bat on the road during Interleague games. That has not been the case with Shohei Ohtani, who arrived from Japan in 2018 as a two-way player who would hit for himself on the days he was the starting pitcher.

The Los Angeles Angels won the bidding war and were instantly rewarded when Ohtani won the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year Award. In only 104 games, he hit .285 with 22 home runs and 61 RBI. On the mound, the right-handed hurler went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 starts. Unfortunately, Ohtani needed to undergo Tommy John surgery in the offseason and the Angels kept him from pitching the entire next season. With the bat, he hit .286/18/62. It would not be a surprise if folks were picking numbers like on a roulette wheel and using a Pala casino promo code to take a bet on his stats as the season went on.

But the Covid-shortened 2020 campaign was a disastrous one for the former member of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, who hit a paltry .190 with seven home runs and 24 RBI, and only pitched in two games, going 0-1 with a 37.80 ERA. But all of that went out the window this summer and Ohtani is on pace to win the AL MVP Award.

Leading baseball with 32 home runs, Ohtani is also hitting .279 with 18 doubles, 12 stolen bases and 69 RBI. And with a 4-1, 3.49 ERA, he has been consistent on the hill and on his way to going from an enigma to superstar. Ohtani, 27, will be the talk of the town at the upcoming All-Star Game in Colorado (after it was moved from Atlanta because of the political nonsense that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred fell for), participating in the Home Run Derby and announcing that he will pitch and hit in the game.

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While there has been a number of two-way players in MLB, no one since Babe Ruth has been as prominent. The greatest athlete of all time broke into the big leagues in 1914 with the Boston Red Sox as a southpaw pitcher and came into his own the following season, finishing with an 18-8 record and a 2.44 ERA. In 1916, he was dominant with 40 starts (nine shutouts), a 23-12 record and a league-leading 1.75 ERA. The Sox won the World Series in both of those campaigns, in which Ruth was a very good hitter, but not the slugger he would become.

A 24-13, 2.01 ERA mark with 35 complete games in 1917 gave Ruth even more clout as a pitcher. He would finally break out offensively in 1918 and led Boston to yet another championship by hitting .300/11/61 with an incredible 58 strike outs in 317 at bats (led both leagues). His final season in Boston was 1919 and Ruth took it to the next level with a .322 batting average, 29 home runs, 113 RBI and again struck out only 58 times in 432 at bats. Because of his prowess with the stick, the Baltimore native only pitched in 17 games but was impressive, nonetheless, with a 9-5 record and a 2.97 ERA.

The Red Sox did the unthinkable the day after Christmas that offseason by selling Ruth’s contract to the New York Yankees for $100,000. Once in the Big Apple, Ruth became a full time outfielder and only pitched in five games between 1920 and 1933. Ruth played one more year in the Bronx and then returned to Boston in 1935, playing only 28 games for the crosstown Braves of the National League before announcing his retirement.

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