Shohei Ohtani Named AL’s MVP

Damon Parks - 22 Nov 2021

The naming of Shohei Ohtani of the American League’s Most Valuable Player on Thursday makes of him only the second Japanese player ever to walk away with the prestigious accolade.

The Los Angeles double-threat, who often gets compared to Babe Ruth because of his incredible ability to both pitch and hit at elite levels, emerged the unanimous pick from the votes cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

He outperformed both Marcus Semien and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on the polls.

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A Dream Come True

Being named MVP is something he’d been gunning for, said Ohtani with the help of a translator following the great news. Ohtani said he believed this is something every baseball player plays for for as long as they’re playing the game professionally.

Ohtani added that he greatly appreciated the fact that fans in the US have been much more accepting of the “two-way idea” than fans back home in Japan. He said here in the US, fans even welcome the notion, which isn’t the case in Japan.

The MVP added that he’s always had to deal with “doubters”, and extensively so during his days back in Japan. He said he tries hard not to let negativity and pressure get the better of him.

Ohtani also said that what makes the award so special is that this is the first MVP accolade of his career. And the fact that it had been awarded unanimously, said the MVP, makes it only that much more of an achievement to him personally.

The award will help him to keep on putting up the numbers next season, said the Japanese MLB star.

Many Firsts For Ohtani

During his first stunt as both a pitcher and a hitter, the MVP put on a stellar .257 batting average, 100 RBI, and 46 homers. This he polished off with a 9-2 record, 23 starts on the mound and at an earned run average of 3.18.

Ohtani is the first Japanese player to win the highly coveted award since countryman Ichiro Suzuki earned the accolated in 2011 during his time playing for the Seattle Mariners.

For Ohtani, growing up while watching Ichiro Suzuki play had been a big reason behind his own desire to play in the Big Leagues, he said late last week. He said he hoped that he too, could become the sort of player that kids would watch, look up to, and hopefully one day emulate. Ohtani said inspiring a new generation of players would mean a great deal to him.

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