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MLB Honors Shohei Ohtani With Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 03: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels watches his home run against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at T-Mobile Park on October 03, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

ANAHEIM (CBSLA) – Shohei Ohtani has added yet another achievement to his already prolific list of awards and commendations, when he received the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award on Tuesday before World Series Game 1 in Houston.

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Ohtani is just the 16th player to receive this honor, the last being both Derek Jeter and Vin Scully in 2014. The award’s inception came in 1998, when then-Commissioner Bud Selig awarded it to both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa for their legendary home run chase.

He was given the award based on his unprecedented performance as a two-way player during the 2021 season, in which Ohtani hit .257 with 46 home runs and 100 RBIs at the plate, and hurled 130.1 innings to the tune of a 9-2 record with 156 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.18. He is also the first player to be voted to the All-Star Game as both a hitter and a pitcher.

As usual, Ohtani was humble about his achievement. The Los Angeles Times reports him as saying, “This award is not given out every year, so I know how special it is… I’m not fully sure if I really deserve it, but since Mr. Manfred’s going to give it to me, I’m going to accept it.”

He is the second Japanese born recipient of the award (Ichiro being the first), and the fourth internationally born player to receive the honor.

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ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 19: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches in the third inning of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 19, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

This was the first time that Manfred has given the award since taking office as Commissioner in 2015. Other recipients of the award are:

  • Mark McGwire (1998)
  • Sammy Sosa (1998)
  • the Seattle Mariners (2001)
  • Cal Ripken, Jr. (2001)
  • Tony Gwynn (2001)
  • Barry Bonds (2002)
  • Rickey Henderson (2002)
  • Roger Clemens (2004)
  • Ichiro Suzuki (2005)
  • Roberto Clemente (the only posthumous recipient, 2006)
  • Rachel Robinson (wife of Jackie Robinson, 2007)
  • Ken Griffey, Jr. (2011)
  • Mariano Rivera (2013)
  • Derek Jeter (2014)
  • Vin Scully (2014)

A list of other achievements that Ohtani has accomplished so far in his young career include: 2019 AL Rookie of the Year, 2021 All-Star, 2016 Japanese Series Champion, five-time Nippon Professional Baseball League All-Star, 2016 Pacific League MVP, two-time Pacific League Pitcher Best Nine, Designated Hitter Best Nine and two-time Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize – the most prestigious award that can be given to one of Japan’s best players or teams.

Ohtani is in the running for several awards this season including the MVP, Cy Young, AL Silver Slugger for Designated Hitter and both the Player of the Year and AL Outstanding Player in the Player’s Choice Awards.

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As a bonus, Ohtani got to attend Game 1 of the World Series as a spectator, as the Atlanta Braves took a 1-0 series lead following their 6-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

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