Shohei Ohtani Follows Babe Ruth Into an Exclusive MLB Club

Ohtani joined Ruth as the second player with 500 strikeouts as a pitcher and 100 homers

Shohei Ohtani throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Shohei Ohtani really is the modern-day Babe Ruth.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty

Trailing for most of the night, the Angels were able to rally for three runs in the ninth inning to give Los Angeles a 6-4 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis. LA’s starting pitcher, Shohei Ohtani, doubled and scored his club’s final run during the three-run rally after his teammates Mike Trout and Jake Lamb hit solo home runs.

Ohtani’s work at the dish helped get his team (17-14) into the win column for the third straight game, but it was his effort on the mound that propelled him into Major League Baseball’s history books. Though he allowed four runs on five hits over five innings, the two-way star struck out 13 batters to reach 500 in his career.

By reaching that milestone, the 28-year-old joined Babe Ruth as just the second player in AL/NL history to record 500 strikeouts as a pitcher and 100 homers as a hitter. Ohtani is also just the fifth player in the Modern Era (since 1900) with 500 career hits and 500 career strikeouts, joining Smoky Joe Wood, Red Ruffing, Walter Johnson and Ruth. The last week has been even more memorable for Ohtani, as he has 11 hits (batting) and 21 strikeouts (pitching). No other MLB player in the modern era has had a 10-hit week and a 20-strikeout week during the same season (let alone during the same week), according to OptaSTATS.

Tied for 14th in the majors with seven dingers this season thus far, Ohtani leads MLB with 59 strikeouts in 39 innings and is the first pitcher to reach 13 strikeouts in a game this season. With his next punch-out, Ohtani will tie Ruth’s career strikeout total (501. Passing the Babe’s home run total, 714, will a bit more difficult. But it seems possible that Ohtani, who currently has 134, will be able to do it.

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“I feel like they were sitting on certain pitches on certain counts,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “They guessed right and got all of those extra-base hits. I just have to do a better job. I gave up a couple of homers and wanted to get through six or seven innings, minimum. More than the strikeouts, I’m more disappointed that I didn’t get that far in the game.”

No one else is.

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