In a year when Shohei Ohtani made history seemingly every night, Game 1 of the World Series provided another opportunity to commemorate his greatness.
Ohtani's Angels fell far short of qualifying for the Fall Classic, but Ohtani was in Houston on Tuesday to receive the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, marking just the 16th time the award has been given out.
Ohtani became the first regular two-way star in over a century, hitting 46 home runs with 100 RBIs and 26 stolen bases offensively to go along with a 9-2 record on the mound with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts. Ohtani was in Houston to accept the award from Manfred himself before the start of Game 1.
“I’m not sure I really deserve it," Ohtani said, per Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein. "But if Mr. Manfred’s going to give it to me, I accept.”
The award was established in 1998 by then-commissioner Bud Selig, who bestowed it 15 times since its inception, though not necessarily every year. Tuesday marks the first time Manfred has given the award to somebody since he took over the job in 2015.
Below is a list of past recipients of the award, per MLB.com:
- 1998: Cal Ripken Jr., in commemoration of the end of his legendary “Iron Man” streak of 2,632 consecutive games played; Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, for their record-breaking single-season home run record chase
- 2001: Barry Bonds, for setting a new single-season home run record; Rickey Henderson, for his all-time career records in stolen bases, walks (since broken by Bonds) and runs; Tony Gwynn, for his record-tying eight NL batting titles; the Seattle Mariners, for their record-tying 116-win regular season
- 2004: Roger Clemens, for his 300th win and record seven Cy Young Awards
- 2005: Ichiro Suzuki, for his record-breaking single-season hit total in 2004
- 2006: Roberto Clemente, posthumously, during the 2006 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh, for his outstanding career on the field and humanitarian contributions off it
- 2007: Rachel Robinson, on the 60th anniversary of her husband Jackie’s breaking of the color barrier and for her advancement of his legacy
- 2011: Ken Griffey Jr., for his great career and enormous popularity
- 2013: Mariano Rivera, who retired as the all-time saves leader
- 2014: Vin Scully, for his 65 years as a baseball broadcaster; Derek Jeter, for his postseason records for hits, runs and total bases
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