Shohei Ohtani who played as a Picher and Designated Hitter (DH) for the Los Angeles Angels (LAA) in Major League Baseball (MLB) since 2018, was first drafted by Hokkaidō Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2012. His 2019 and 2020 seasons were limited due to frequent injuries. But Shohei Ohtani’s expectational performance in 2021 made him the ‘Shotime’ of MLB.
George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth who is popularly known as Babe Ruth, one of the all-time greatest, started his career with the Boston Red Sox in 1914 and started to gain popularity with the New York Yankees in 1920. Popularly known as ‘Bambino’, Babe had 22 years of experience with a Hall of Fame in 1936. His two-way playing style made him a “first five” member.
These two players have made baseball more exciting to watch. Babe and Shouhei are from a different era, but they are considered the best in their generation. Babe Rudh created the two-way playing style and Ohtani is following in his footsteps to be the greatest all-round player.
Why is Shohei Ohtani being compared to Babe Ruth?
Babe Ruth had created many records in his 22-year-long career that were considered unbroken until Shohei Ohtani stepped on the mound. The Japanese prodigy shattered an 88-year-old record held by Babe for most strikeouts by a player with at least 100 career home runs with 501 strikeouts (arguably 488 SO by some), broken by Shohei in 2023 against the Astros with his 502nd SO of the career.
Another notable accomplishment by Ohtani is when he became one of the only two players in MLB history to hit 10 or more HR and Strike Out 35 or more batters in a single month, the other one is Babe Ruth. Also, Ohtani is the only player who did that in the same month.
MLB players to hit 10 or more homers in a month and strike out 35 or more batters in a month: 2 (Babe Ruth, Shohei Ohtani)
MLB players to do that in the same month: 1 (Shohei Ohtani)
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) June 28, 2023
But the list isn’t over yet, as the World Baseball Classic MVP of 2023 has also suppressed ‘the most number of homers in a single month, held by Great Babe Ruth in 1921 with 13 home runs in a month. Shohei smashed 14 homers in June 2023 to break the record.
Is Shohei Ohtani better than Babe Ruth?
With the performance of Shohei from 2021 to the current year, many experts have changed their minds to accept Ohtani at the same level as Babe. The number of career home runs Ruth has on his name is 714, nearly 500 more than Ohtani’s. Also, Shohei is yet to taste the biggest achievement of MLB compared to Babe, who had won seven World Series titles.
The debate may go back and forth with time, but one point is certain: Shohei has impressed even future HOF of the Yankees Aaron Judge, Aaron said, “I don’t like watching it in person when he’s playing against us doing what he’s doing. It’s fun when you turn on the TV and see that he’s throwing eight inning, striking out 10 and hitting two homers in a game“.
Even with icons like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in the line-up, Angeles fans have been waiting since 2014 to qualify for the playoffs, but they have to wait longer as Ohtani got injured against the Orioles and might miss out for the rest of the season.
“It’s all business.”
Phil Nevin on Shohei Ohtani’s future with the Angels. pic.twitter.com/pt2H8s3Nvh
— ESPN (@espn) July 17, 2023
Next offseason, Shohei Ohtani will be a free agent, and LAA’s future with him is uncertain, while other teams are hoping to get the chance to add the hero of the 2023 Men’s Baseball Classic into their lineup.