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Shohei Ohtani wins the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award

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Ohtani becomes just the 16th person in baseball history to win this award

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani’s long list of accolades for his incredible 2021 season grew even longer on Tuesday evening, as he became just the 16th person in the history of Major League Baseball to win the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award.

Ohtani was awarded this honor by Commissioner Rob Manfred during a press conference in Houston prior to the start of Game 1 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves. According to MLB, the award is given to those who have made a “major impact on the sport” of baseball.

Ohtani is the first person to win the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award since both Derek Jeter and Vin Scully won it back in 2014, and he is the first person to win it during Manfred’s tenure. According to Manfred, him and other league executives began considering the idea after Ohtani’s appearance at this year’s All-Star Game, where he became the first person in baseball history to both pitch and hit in the Midsummer Classic.

“Just as the season progressed and the excitement surrounding the achievements and the performance of Mr. Ohtani, we came to the conclusion as a group, my whole senior management team, that it would be a mistake for us not to do something just to recognize this one season while we had the opportunity,” Manfred said at Monday’s press conference.

Ohtani joins other titans of the game as recipients of this award, with the 15 others to win it being Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Cal Ripken Jr., Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Tony Gwynn, the 2001 Seattle Mariners, Roger Clemens, Ichiro Suzuki, Roberto Clemente (posthumously), Rachel Robinson (on behalf of her husband, Jackie Robinson), Ken Griffey Jr., Mariano Rivera, Scully and Jeter.

“It’s a huge honor and an unbelievable award, and I’m really happy about it,” Ohtani told reporters through his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara. “This award is not given out every year, so I know how special it is. I’m not fully sure if I really deserve it, but since Mr. Manfred is going to give it to me, I will accept it.”

This honor is just the latest of many for Ohtani, as he has also won Baseball America’s 2021 MLB Player of the Year and was named to TIME Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2021 in the last few months. He is also considered the heavy favorite to win the 2021 American League MVP, which will be announced on November 11 following the conclusion of the World Series.