“If Ichiro had not been there…”.
When Shohei Ohtani (28. LA Angels) became the major league home run king in the 2023 season, the NPB legend home run king sent meaningful congratulations. It is said that the current Otani emerged thanks to the performance of genius hitter Ichiro Suzuki. In addition, the appearance of Otani Kid was also expected.
Ohtani won 10 games as a pitcher this season and hit 44 home runs as a hitter, becoming the American League’s home run king. He was the unrivaled home run king among Japanese batters of all time.
Softbank Hawks Chairman Sadaharu Oh, who holds the record for the most home runs in Japanese league history (868_), said in an interview with Japanese media on the 2nd, “Ohtani has become a hitter who is fully recognized in the major leagues. He has left a mark in American baseball history, and we look forward to more in the future.” He applauded, saying, “I will do it for about 15 years.스포츠토토
” At the same time, Ichiro, who had 3,000 hits in the major leagues, was also summoned. “If it were not for Ichiro, Ohtani would not have been able to perform. Ichiro was recognized by the major leagues by becoming MVP and hitting 200 hits for 10 consecutive years. He paid tribute to his brilliant achievement, saying, “I worked hard as a receiving hitter.”
He continued, “Thanks to Otani, who followed Ichiro on a larger scale, Americans’ perspectives on Japanese baseball have also changed. In our time, U.S.-Japan baseball was a friendly game. Now, even the U.S. plays it seriously. The reason why the level of Japanese baseball has risen is because of Ichiro’s hard work and Otani’s efforts.” “It’s because he became the home run king,” he said with pride.
Chairman Oh’s last words were, “I hope that players, middle school and high school students will also think, ‘I will go (to the major leagues) too.'” It was said to be a strong motivation not only for Japanese professional baseball players but also for student athletes.
Ichiro transferred to the Seattle Mariners in 2001 and showed momentum in Japanese baseball by recording 242 hits and a batting average of .305, winning Rookie of the Year and MVP awards at the same time. Afterwards, he had 200 hits for 10 consecutive years and recorded 3,085 hits in his 18-year career.
While Ichiro was a hit maker with the precision and quick feet typical of Japanese baseball, Otani showed off his power and showed the evolving power of Japanese baseball. This seems to be a reason to expect the appearance of the Otani Kids following the Ichiro Kids.