Shohei Ohtani could very well be this era's Babe Ruth, a new legendary baseball icon.

Ohtani, a hitter and outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels, has shown his prowess in the field, earning popularity as one of Major League Baseball's biggest stars. Being capable of both pitching and hitting is a rare talent in today's baseball, something not seen in about a century since Ruth dominated the sport.

Ever since he was a child, Ohtani has shown great promise and was a prodigy in his town. 

He grew up in Oshu, Japan and began his journey in baseball as a kid, playing in the little league every weekend. This is no surprise as he comes from a family of athletes -- both his parents were athletes and his older brother also played baseball. 

Before playing in the MLB, he went through several training grounds in high school and eventually with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League from 2013 to 2017. Throughout his career, he has earned accomplishments left and right, and has outperformed many notable players in his field. 

Aside from his impressive play in the diamond, Ohtani also impresses off field with his warm presence and sunny personality. He always makes time to greet reporters and fans, and is always grateful for the support and praise he receives. Ohtani seems to have it all.

If you're looking to know more about Shohei "Shotime" Ohtani, here are 30 facts about the hottest player of the year. 

Shohei Ohtani Infographic-01 10 facts about Shohei Ohtani Photo: IBTimes


A humble Japanese kid who loved to play baseball on weekends, Ohtani easily found his way to a remarkable professional baseball career. He is an inspiration to many, especially in his own country, where has continues to reign the headlines for his success. 

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1. Shohei was born in Japan on July 5, 1994

Ohtani was born in the city of Oshu, in the Iwate Prefecture, Japan. He is the third and youngest child in his family.

2. His zodiac sign is Cancer

If you’re a believer of personality traits ruled by one’s zodiac sign, you might agree that his own personality matches that of a true Cancer. He has shown typical Cancer traits like being sensitive, compassionate, loving and having a goofy disposition. 

3. Shohei is a Christian

Despite the majority of the Japanese population adhering to Shintoism, Ohtani is a practicing Christian.

4. The baseball superstar remains a bachelor

As of this writing, there has been no woman linked to Ohtani’s arms. The 27-year-old bachelor has no reported girlfriend and is unmarried. 

5. He is among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021

It’s no surprise that Ohtani made it to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021, he has been extraordinary this MLB season. His skills on both the mound and the plate are on another level. Despite this, he remains very humble. He has even won the heart of former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, who says Ohtani is a more complete player than Babe Ruth.

6. Ohtani is truly a kind soul

Aside from his athletic capabilities, he has a heart of gold. Shohei's teammates vouch for his kindness and have only good things to say about him. He even cleans up after himself in the Angels dugout. No wonder he’s a crowd favorite. 

7. He is baseball’s Frankenstein for a reason

"Shotime" is dubbed as today’s Bambino. The multi-talented athlete has a set of unique skills that no other player possesses. The strength of Bryce Harper, pitching skills of Max Scherzer, and speed and agility of Trea Turner are all morphed into one player -- Shohei Ohtani. 

Shohei Ohtani - Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels is greeted in the dugout after hitting his 45th home run of the season in the eighth inning of the game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

8. He visited a child in need of a heart transplant to show his support

In January 2019, Ohtani visited a sick infant named Shohei Kawasaki to offer encouragement as the child’s family faced a crisis -- struggling to raise funds for the 1-year-old boy’s heart transplant. Shohei felt the need to be there in person to show his support for the family as soon as he learned about the tragedy from an acquaintance. 

9. Ohtani has brought intense national pride for the Japanese

Although Ohtani is not the first Japanese athlete to bring pride to their nation, Ohtani is considered a treasure by his people. Several Japanese athletes have succeeded in the same sport, but there’s just something about Ohtani that remains remarkable. His big build has even changed the world’s perception of Japanese athletes, giving a boost to their national ego. The stereotype that their athletes are physically inferior is debunked. 


10. He could have made it to the Olympics in swimming

Yes, you read that right! Back in his high school years, Ohtani’s coach made them swim workouts every day. Although he isn’t known as a swimmer, he would be the fastest swimmer on his team. He even earned the swimming coach’s praise, saying that he could have bagged a spot in the Olympic team if he pursued the sport. 

11. Ohtani’s father influenced his career choice

Shohei was first introduced to baseball by his father. It was Koru Ohtani who influenced Shohei the most in pursuing the sport as he also played baseball and was a corporate league baseball player while he worked at Mitsubishi. 

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12. Ohtani initially considered baseball a hobby

He played catch with his father and brother every day as a young boy and even watched the sport on television. However, he never considered it to be anything more than a hobby. He didn't know back then that he would be one of the best players in the league. 

13. It all started at Hanamaki Higashi High School

It was during his high school years that his talent first drew attention. At that time, he was throwing at a speed in the mid-90s that eventually reached 99mph. At 17 years old, he was already a dynamic go-to player. No wonder he’s got lightning speed these days. 

14. He was also like any other teen

His big built surely helped him in sports, but he also had some issues adjusting to his rapidly growing stature at a young age. Shohei suffered many groin and hamstring injuries in his teenage years which also posed some issues in his pitching mechanics. He once had a hard time keeping himself in the strike zone. Thankfully, he eventually learned how to control his body and grew out of this phase.

15. Hideki Matsui was his inspiration

Growing up, the only team he watched on television was Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants. The power-hitting left fielder Hideki Matsui was his idol. The player nicknamed “Godzilla” was his inspiration as he grew his love for the sport. 

Shohei Ohtani - Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels looks on during his at bat during the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 18, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Photo: Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

16. He recorded the fastest pitch by a Japanese high school pitcher

Ohtani was recognized for his pitching talent even before he joined the big leagues. As a teen, he recorded the fastest pitch by a Japanese high school pitcher at 99mph. Before he reached that speed, he was already pitching mid-90s before a year-long training that led to his record-breaking speed at such an early age. 

17. He was supposed to skip the Japanese baseball draft

What Ohtani really wanted to do after finishing school was to play in the United States, for an MLB team. He knew early on that his talents drew domestic and international attention and wanted to skip the Japanese draft.


Ohtani's impressive two-way play continues to impress fans and doubters alike. Since 1921, after the Babe Ruth era, there have only been a few who have shown dominance in both. Ohtani is one of them. To date, hitters miss on over 50% of their swings against Ohtani’s splitter. 

The superstar also excels at stealing bases with his zooming speed. He is among the top 30 runners by sprint speed at 29 feet/ second and also one of the top 4 fastest home-to-first time at just 4.08 seconds. 

Staying in Japan to play in the national league, where he was the first draft pick, helped him train at the MPB in his younger years instead of going through the U.S. minor leagues first. 

Shohei Ohtani Baseball Career Photo: 18. The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters aggressively wooed Ohtani to sign with them

As mentioned, Ohtani always wanted to go straight to the majors. However, he still joined the Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League after an aggressive courtship by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. He then spent five seasons with them before finally joining the Angels. 

19. He debuted at age 18

Shohei became a pro at 18, debuting as a right-fielder for the Fighters in 2013. He also became the team’s first pick in the 2012 draft and eventually led the Fighters to the Pacific League Championship and Japan Series title in 2016. He led a remarkable early career at the Nippon Professional Baseball Pacific League before he pursued his MLB dream in the United States. 

20. He once had a ball stuck in the ceiling

Ohtani is known for his great strength. At an exhibition game against the Netherlands, he hit a ball so hard that it got stuck in the ceiling of the Tokyo Dome. Players and fans were confused as to why the ball that was struck never landed. He then quickly gained the reputation of a powerful hitter after the incident flooded the headlines. 

21. He wore jersey number 11

He proudly wore jersey number 11 that was previously assigned to another legendary player, Yu Darvish. Maybe his legendary jersey number pitched in his success.

22. He earned a Pacific League roster spot right away

In his first season, he readily secured a spot in the Pacific League roster for the 2013 All-Star Game. His incredible first year resulted in a record of 3-0 in 11 starts at the end of the season. 

23. He made big bucks early on in his career

His strong play as a rookie, coupled with his consecutive All-Star Game appearances helped him etch his name in MPB history books. This contributed to his salary reaching ¥100 million per year. 

Shohei Ohtani Angels Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts as he stands on second base during the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on October 02, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

24. 2016 was his best year

To this day, he has yet to surpass his performance in 2016. He solidified his role as a batter in that season while maintaining equal dominance on the mound. Ohtani was definitely an important player for the Fighters, helping them reach the 2016 Japan Series finals and win against the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. He was hailed the Most Valuable Player of the season, garnering 253 out of 254 first-place votes. 

25. Everyone wanted Ohtani on their team

As soon as he was open to playing in the majors, he gained much attention from some of the world’s biggest baseball clubs. Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers all lined up to sign Ohtani. 

26. His first few years in the majors were tough

Ohtani suffered multiple injuries in his early years at the majors.

27. Ohtani comes up the top in barrels

Ohtani leads the majors as the hitter that has barreled most baseballs. It’s definitely not easy to bat a ball with the perfect exit velocity and launch angle, but Ohtani sure makes it look easy with a total of 38 barrels. If you look up the rates, his barrels-per-plate appearance is at 14.5% or 24.1% in the barrels-per-batted ball. 

Shohei Ohtani - Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches in the bottom of the first inning of his Major League pitching debut against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on April 1, 2018 in Oakland, California. Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

28. He is a real Most Valuable Player

According to ESPN data, Shohei leads the league in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) this season, at 9. He is ahead of other notable stars Zack Wheeler (7.8), Carlos Correa (7.2) and Marcus Semien (7.1).

The MLB explains WAR the statistic that evaluates the player's value in all aspects of the game by "deciphering how many more wins he's worth than a replacement-level player at his same position."

29. "Shotime" has earned $6.7 million in four seasons

Ohtani has a career earnings of $6,769,259 over a four-season stretch with the Angels, based on data from Spotrac. He is expected to earn $5.5 million next year and will enter free agency in 2023, unless he inks an extension with LA. 

30. Ohtani is expected to be a Hall of Famer

While it's too early to tell what the future brings for Shohei, many pundits are already considering him as a Hall of Fame contender when he finally hangs his bat and mitts.

"If Ohtani turns out to be an ace starter and cleanup hitter for the next decade -- which he's certainly looked like this year -- then he's in," Cut4's Michael Claire says. 

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