Was there ever any doubt?
At some point, there just aren’t enough words to describe how incredible the 2021 season was for Angels’ two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. There is no historic comparison in baseball — and the closest is Babe Ruth.
So it was no surprise that when Frank Thomas announced the AL MVP winner Thursday night that not only would it be Ohtani, but it would be by unanimous vote.
The unanimous win made him just the 19th player in the history of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s MVP award to receive all the first-place votes. Here’s a full list of the company he joins.
|1993||Frank Thomas||White Sox||AL||1B|
|1997||Ken Griffey Jr.||Mariners||AL||OF|
And if that wasn’t enough history, Ohtani also became only the 29th player to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year. Among that group, he is only the seventh to be unanimously named MVP and win Rookie of the Year.
|Player||Rookie of the Year||MVP|
|Willie Mays||1951||1954, 1965|
|Frank Robinson||1956||1961, 1966|
|Johnny Bench||1968||1970, 1972|
|Cal Ripken||1982||1983, 1991|
|Albert Pujols||2001||2005, 2008, 2009|
|Bryce Harper||2012||2015, 2021|
|Mike Trout||2012||2014, 2016, 2019|
Ohtani joining historic company with the award is a fitting cap to an unprecedented campaign. He was third in the American League with 46 home runs and finished the season with a .257/.372/.592 slash line and he was fifth in the AL with 26 stolen bases.
On the mound, he pitched 130 1/3 innings in 23 starts with a 3.18 ERA, 29.3 percent strikeout rate and 8.3 percent walk rate. He is the only player in MLB history to tally at least 30 home runs and 30 strikeouts in a season, and he finished with 156 strikeouts.