Why Otani is great? Creating another historical myth in 131 years
Shohei Otani (27, LA Angels), who is creating myths with “Two Combination,” proved another great reason. He also made history in modern baseball history by demonstrating his fighting spirit.
The Los Angeles Angels won the 2021 Major League home game against the San Diego Padres at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, on the 29th (Korea time). Otani started as the second designated hitter, and went silent with no hits in four at-bats. However, he succeeded in stealing one base with two runs and became the first player to steal 40 home runs and 20 bases.
Otani showed his injury from the first inning. At the bottom of the first inning, the first baseman was safe. Otani was hit near his right wrist on his third fastball (150 kilometers) thrown by opposing starter Ryan Weathers at 0-2 on the ball count. Otani suffered from treatment for a while. However, the referee struck out Otani, judging that he had made a false swing. Since then, Otani has shown his determination to play the game without a replacement.
Otani, who was only shortstop in the third inning, hit the base with a walk after one out in the fifth inning. He quickly stole second base and stole his 20th stolen base this season. It was the moment when Otani, who hit 41 home runs, achieved 40 homers and 20 steals. Otani went on to score extra points for Joe Adele’s timely home run. In the sixth inning, he hit a pitcher’s grounder and struck out in the bottom of the eighth inning.
According to the Japanese baseball media Full Count, Otani is the first to achieve “40 homers – 20 stolen bases” with the Los Angeles Angels. It is also the first time in two years since Ronald Aquana Jr. (Atlanta) in the Major League, and the first time in 10 years since Curtison Granderson (New York Yankees) in the American League. Furthermore, according to the U.S. ESPN, “40 homers – 20 stolen bases” before August was the third time for Wani to achieve “40 homers – 20 stolen bases” after Ken Griffey Jr. (Seattle) in 1999 and Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees) in 2007.
In addition, it is the first time a pitcher has stolen 20 bases since the 20th century (January 1, 1901 – December 31, 2000), during the modern baseball era. The previous record for stolen bases was 13 by Bob Gibson (born November 9, 1935 – died October 2, 2020). Up to the 19th century, Cincinnati’s 284-win switch pitcher Tony Mulane (born January 20, 1859 – died April 25, 1944) achieved more than 20 stolen bases in three seasons until the 1886 (20), 1887 (20), and 1889 (24). Eventually, Otani created a new myth in 131 years.