There was a time when Major League pitchers hit for themselves just like their fellow team mates.  In an age of the designated hitter, such a feat is rare.

Japanese born pitcher Shohei Otani is one of those rare players who not only strikes out players on the pitcher’s mound; he also, grabs a bat and hits them into the stands hundreds of feet away.

The Associated Press has named Otani the Male Athlete of the Year.  The Los Angeles Angels player was a standout in 2021 as the League’s only true two way player.  There has not been a player like Shohei Otani since Babe Ruth with the Boston Red Sox in 1919.

The American League voted Otani the League MVP – Most Valuable Player – in a unanimous vote last month.  He also earned a Silver Slugger Award for his hitting prowess.

Otani finished the year with 46 home runs, 100 runs batted in, a .965 OPS, scored 103 runs, 26 stolen bases, had a league leading eight triples, a 3.18 earned run average, 156 strikeouts, and a record of nine wins and two losses.  Oh, and he can throw a ball at 100mph!  And he’s only 27 years old.

During the season, Angles manger Joe Maddon spoke on his star player saying, “he’s doing something we haven’t seen in our lifetimes, but he’s also doing it at the very highest level of hitting and pitching.  He’s doing more than other players, but he’s also doing it better than almost everybody else on that field, and those are the greatest players in the game, his contemporaries. He’s playing their game, but he’s also playing a different game.”

feature photo cedit: Ohtani batting 2019.08.04(1).jpg