“YES, TO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR” Canada’s Largest Ohtani Fan Club Makes a Case
Somewhere between a trip to the Grand Canyon, and the Marvel superhero exhibit in Vegas, an acquaintance and myself visited a baseball memorabilia store during the summer of 2017. Our eyes were immediately drawn to an autographed Babe Ruth ball valued at $59 999.00. I recall offering the manager of the store an opportunity to acquire one of my autographed Shohei Ohtani baseballs, “Never heard of him,” he responded. My, how times have changed!
As rookie awards loom, we can’t help but reflect on the fact that after a century, Ohtani has matched Ruth’s record for 50 innings pitched and 10 home runs in the same season. In fact, Shoehei went on to better that record.
As a fan club, our faith in Ohtani has never waivered. After all, he has already shown himself to be the best pitcher/hitter in Japan while playing in the Fighter league.
I spent a week in Tempe for Shohei’s initial spring training. Even in the “B” games he sometimes struggled on the mound. We also knew he had a ligament tear when he signed with the Angels. We expected the worst after further injury sidelined him into missing half the season as pitcher. But, it’s the big picture that counts!
Shohei kept playing as DH even after the diagnosis was made that he needed Tommy John surgery. He continued to impress, hitting balls over 430 feet on several occasions. We shouldn’t forget that he was pitching 100 mph balls prior to his injury. His full season stats are awesome! In addition, he leads all rookies in slugging percentage.
Most importantly, this guy has been under a huge microscope ever since he entered MLB, not only here, but in Japan where his every sneeze was reported on.
Ohtani is like one of those Marvel multi-powered heroes I mentioned previously. He possesses two super powers, hitting and pitching. Even with one power temporarily removed, he is still a superhero, most deserving of the ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD.