Manfred honors Ohtani with Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award
Major League Baseball is honoring Shohei Ohtani with one of its most unique awards.
Commissioner Rob Manfred presented Ohtani with the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award after his unprecedented two-way performance with the Los Angeles Angels this year.
"This award is not given out every year, so it's very special," Ohtani said, according to Ben Verlander of Fox Sports. "I'm not sure I even deserve it. But if Mr. Manfred is going to give it to me, I will gladly accept."
Ohtani received the award from Manfred prior to Game 1 of the World Series in Houston. The trophy, which was designed by Tiffany & Co, features a sterling silver base and a gold baseball, according to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com.
"It would be a mistake for us not to do something just to recognize this one season while we had the opportunity to do it," Manfred said, according to Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.
Ohtani exploded as a superstar by turning in baseball's first true two-way performance in over a century. He hit .257/.372/.592 with 46 homers, 100 RBIs, 26 stolen bases, eight triples, and 103 runs scored across 155 games as the Angels' primary designated hitter. Ohtani also started 23 games for the Halos, going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 1.09 WHIP, and 156 strikeouts.
During the year, he became the first pitcher to make a start while leading the majors in home runs since Babe Ruth in 1921. He's also the first player to be named to the same All-Star Game as both a pitcher and position player.
The 27-year-old arrived in MLB with tremendous expectations after starring as a two-way player in his native Japan. He played both ways during his award-winning rookie season of 2018 but was limited to 10 pitching appearances and 104 total games by injuries.
First established in 1998 by then-commissioner Bud Selig, the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award is given out at the commissioner's discretion to a group or person who made a "major impact on" baseball.
Ohtani is just the 16th recipient of the award and the first honored by Manfred, who took over as commissioner in 2015. The last time it was awarded was in 2014 when Selig honored Vin Scully and Derek Jeter.