Ohtani's performance last season helped change perceptions of Asians in the U.S.
TOKYO — It was quite a season for Shohei Ohtani in 2021. He nearly won the home run crown and might have won the Cy Young award with a little more run support from his teammates. He led all MLB in WAR. He won a slew of awards, capped by the BBWAA A.L. MVP, which he won unanimously — the 18th person to do so in the 91-year history of the award.
But none of the others have done what Ohtani has. He hit 46 homers and struck out 150 batters. He hit a home run in Anaheim on April 4 vs the Chicago White Sox that traveled 451 feet. He hit another one there 470 feet in June. He threw several pitches over 100 mph, one of them on the 99th pitch of a game. His splitter is the single most effective pitch in MLB.
Ohtani might have had the most valuable season of any player ever.
He is also breaking stereotypes of Asian Americans who have had a difficult history in the United States.