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#pounditTuesday, November 30, 2021

Shohei Ohtani makes history with unique All-Star selection

Shohei Ohtani hitting

It was a foregone conclusion that Shohei Ohtani would be appearing in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, but the manner of his selection made history on Sunday.

Ohtani was announced as an All-Star starter on Thursday, when MLB revealed that fans had voted him onto the American League team at the designated hitter position. On Sunday, when the full rosters for the game were unveiled, Ohtani was selected a second time — this time as a pitcher. It makes him the first player in MLB history to be named as an All-Star as both a position player and as a pitcher.

That’s a good summation of just how remarkable Ohtani’s achievements are. There’s no parallel. Few players can hit or pitch at an All-Star level in Major League Baseball. Only one can do both. There’s no questioning how deserving he is, either: he has a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 60 innings as a pitcher, and he hit his league-leading 31st home run of the season on Sunday as a position player.

It remains an open question as to whether Ohtani will get to do both in the All-Star Game on July 13. His manager has openly said he wants him to, and this development makes it seem more likely that AL manager Kevin Cash and everyone else involved will find a way to make it happen.

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