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Ohtani’s 2021 Season Commemorated as First Two-Way All-Star in the History of Baseball

HOUSTON – Prior to Game One of the 2021 World Series, Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. presented Los Angeles Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award.  Ohtani is the 16th recipient of the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award, which was created in 1998 to recognize accomplishments and contributions of historical significance to the game.  The last time this honor was presented was during the 2014 season, when Derek Jeter and Vin Scully each were recipients.

In 2021, Ohtani became the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to be an All-Star as both a pitcher and a hitter in the 88-year history of the Midsummer Classic.  He was also a starter in both capacities in the All-Star Game, as the American League’s manager-selected starting pitcher (who earned the win) and fan-elected starting designated hitter (who was also the leadoff hitter).  As a hitter, Ohtani posted 103 runs scored, 26 doubles, eight triples, 46 home runs, 100 RBI, 96 walks, 26 stolen bases and a .965 OPS.  He became the only player in MLB history with 45+ homers, 25+ steals and five or more triples in a season.  On the mound, the 27-year-old right-hander went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts (130.1 IP) in 23 starts, limiting opponents to a .207 average.

            As a two-way player, Ohtani:

  • became the first pitcher to make multiple pitching starts in a season while leading the Majors in home runs since Hall of Famer Babe Ruth in 1919.
  • became the first player in MLB history to record 10+ HR as a hitter and 100+ strikeouts as a pitcher in the same season.
  • became the first player in MLB history with 20+ stolen bases and 10+ pitching appearances in the same season.
  • batted for himself in 20 of his 23 pitching starts, becoming the first pitcher ever to hit for himself 3+ times in games with a DH available.
  • made 14 pitching starts while also holding at least a share of the Major League home run lead.
  • tossed three pitches at 100+ MPH and hit a 451-foot homer with a 115.2 MPH exit velocity all in the same inning vs. the White Sox on April 4th.

Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: “Shohei Ohtani’s 2021 season will be remembered forever.  His all-around excellence captured imaginations across the globe and demonstrated the greatness of our game.  Major League Baseball is honored to recognize Shohei’s amazing accomplishments in 2021, and we look forward to his milestones to come.”

The Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award is a trophy made by Tiffany & Co. that stands 12 inches tall, including a sterling silver base with a baseball mounted at the top. The words “Commissioner’s Historic Achievement” are engraved around the base of the trophy with the Major League Baseball silhouetted batter logo above the type.

The previous figures in Baseball who have received the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award are:

  • 1998: Cal Ripken Jr. in commemoration of the end of his legendary “Iron Man” consecutive games streak.
  • 1998: Both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa for their record-breaking single-season home run record chase.
  • 2001: Barry Bonds for his single-season home run record.
  • 2001: Rickey Henderson for his all-time career records in stolen bases, walks and runs.
  • 2001: The retiring Tony Gwynn for his record-tying eight NL batting titles.
  • 2001: The Seattle Mariners for their record-tying 116-win regular season.
  • 2004: Roger Clemens for his 300th win and record Cy Young Award total.
  • 2005: Ichiro Suzuki for his record-breaking hits total in the 2004 season.
  • 2006: Roberto Clemente, posthumously, during the 2006 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh and presented to his wife Vera and the entire Clemente family.
  • 2007: Rachel Robinson, on the 60th anniversary of her husband Jackie’s breaking of the color barrier and for her lifelong advancement of his legacy and service to young people.
  • 2011: Ken Griffey Jr., on his great career in baseball and for being one of the most popular players of all-time.
  • 2013: Mariano Rivera, who retired as the game’s all-time saves leader.
  • 2014: Vin Scully on his 65 years of excellence in his broadcasting career.
  • 2014: The retiring Derek Jeter for his numerous all-time Postseason records (including hits, runs and total bases).

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