Shohei Ohtani has become the first Japanese-born home run champion in either MLB league as the 2022-2023 season wrapped up on Sunday.
Top of the chart: Ohtani, 29, achieved the title after ending the current season with a total of 44 home runs in the American League (AL) on Sunday, making him the first player from Japan to ever do so. The Texas Rangers’ Adolis Garcia took the second spot for most AL home runs in 2023 with 39.
Thanking the fans and his teammate, Ohtani said of the latest achievement, “Thinking about the great Japanese players who have played in the U.S. major leagues until now, it’s both humbling and a great honor.”
The last time it happened: The two-way phenom also became the first Japanese-born player to receive an MLB batting crown in nearly 20 years after former Seattle Mariners Ichiro Suzuki led both the MLB and the American League as the top hitter in the 2004 season.
More impressively: What made Ohtani’s 2023 season home run count even more impressive is that the Los Angeles Angels star only played 135 games in the season before he went into surgery to treat his torn ulnar collateral ligament, which he sustained in August.
He also ended his season with the Halos earlier than expected after suffering an oblique injury during batting practice in early September.
Other details: While Ohtani is leading the AL home run charts for the 2023 season, he is sitting at No. 4 on the overall MLB chart right behind the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso at 46, Kyle Schwarber of the Philadelphia Phillies at 47 and the Atlanta Braves’ Matt Olson, who took the top spot with 54 home runs.