Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Angels Shohei Otani Receives Rare MLB Commissioner Award

After all this year, Shohei Otani performed at the World Series.

Ahead of the first game of the Fall Classic at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, Otani was honored with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award for his unprecedented two-way performance in the regular season.

The 27-year-old Angel Star was the 16th recipient of this award, which was first presented in 1998, and the first to receive an award since Commissioner Rob Manfred became Commissioner in 2015.

“Over the next few years, I know there will be many, many awards and accolades on your way,” Manfred said during a pre-game press conference as Ohtani sat next to him. “But I felt that 2021 was so special that it was important to recognize the historic achievement that took place in 2021 and receive the award around 2021.”

Otani has become one of the biggest stories in baseball this season, with 46 home runs and 100 RBIs in addition to posting a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 23 games as a starting pitcher.

He became the first player selected to compete in the MLB All-Star as a striker and reliever, and has knocked over many two-way landmarks that were last reached by Babe Root.

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It wasn’t enough to help the injured Angels advance to the playoffs, but it made Otani the clear favorite for MVP in the American League, along with other awards he is likely to win in the offseason.

However, Manfred said he believes Ohtani’s campaign deserves special recognition.

So, less than an hour before the start of the World Series, the league announced that it would make a surprise announcement. And right on schedule, Okhtani entered the stadium wearing an all-black suit, smiling as Manfred presented him with a gold trophy that hadn’t been handed out for the last time since 2014.

“This award is not given every year, so I know how special it is,” said Otani through his translator, Ippei Mizuharu. “I’m not entirely sure if I really deserve it, but since Mr. Manfred is going to give it to me, I’m going to accept it.”

Laughing, Manfred chimed in: “He deserves it. I’m pretty sure of that. “

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