On Monday, baseball Shohei Ohtani achieved a feat not seen in nearly a century — taking the mound as his team’s starting pitcher while simultaneously leading the league in home runs. The previous man staking a claim to this attempt? Herman “Babe” Ruth, on June 13, 1921.
Ohtani, oh my!
When the Angels delivered Ohtani to the bump to begin the club’s game in Texas, he did so having hit seven home runs on the season, good for a tie together with seven different players atop all Major League Baseball. (Later Monday evening, the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins blasted a pair of long balls versus the Cardinals, giving him eight on the season and vaulting him into sole possession of the league lead.)
Ohtani, that functions as Los Angeles’ designated hitter in games he doesn’t pitch, pitched five innings versus the Rangers, striking out nine batters and allowing four earned runs en route to his first win of the year. In the plate that the 26-year-old out of Japan was 2-3 with a pair of RBI and three runs scored since the Angels got a 9-4 victory.
On June 13, 1921 — also a Monday — Ruth’s 19 dingers were great for best in baseball when”The Babe” took the hill for the Yankees. Facing the Detroit Tigers and batting , Ruth collected two homers, but allowed four runs in the 5th inning and was removed from the ball match. Ruth, whose most effective seasons as a hurler were spent using the Boston Red Sox from 1915-1919, altered almost exclusively to the outfield moving ahead, and didn’t make another beginning until 1930.
While Ruth completed his career with a 94-46 pitching record, it’s his prowess at the plate in which his legacy lives. In his 22 major league seasons,”The Babe” belted 714 home runs, third most all-time, behind only Henry”Hank” Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762). Ruth is universally regarded among the greatest baseball players ever.
The dawn of another diamond dual threat
All this is to state that Ohtani has put himself in exceptionally elite company. Limited this season by a blister to only three pitching appearances, Ohtani has hurled 13.2 innings, allowing five earned runs while striking out 23. He has appeared as a hitter in all but one game for the Angels — an April 20 competition where he pitched but did not hit — and now sports a .300 typical in 80 at bats.
Ohtani, that pitches as a righty but bats from the left side, joined the Angels in 2017 following five All-Star seasons at Nippon Pro Baseball, the maximum level of baseball in Japan. He made the American League’s Rookie of the Year award in 2018 after hitting 22 home runs and notching a 4-2 record in 10 starts on the mound. The final player to reach at least 15 homers while pitching a minimum of 50 innings in a single season?
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