Shohei Ohtani biography: 13 things about baseball player born in Ōshū, Iwate, Japan


Shohei Ohtani (大谷 翔平) is a professional baseball pitcher, designated hitter and outfielder who attended Hanamaki Higashi High School in Iwate, Japan. He was born in Ōshū, Iwate to Toru Ohtani and Kayoko Ohtani.

Toru was an amateur baseball player who played in the Japanese Industrial League while Kayoko was a national-level badminton player in high school. Shohei is the youngest of their three children.

Coached by Toru, Shohei began playing baseball in his second year of elementary school. Shohei was also a fast swimmer who could have made the Olympics, according to his high school baseball coach Hiroshi Sasaki.

Shohei is 6’4″ tall and his registered weight is 210 lbs. Here are 13 more things about him:


  1. On October 21, 2012, he announced that he would pursue a career in Major League Baseball but the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters drafted him anyway.
  2. On March 29, 2013, he made his Nippon Professional Baseball debut playing for the Hokkaidō Nippon-Ham Fighters as a right fielder.
  3. On September 7, 2014, he homered to straightaway center at Kyocera Dome in Chiyozaki, Nishi-ku, Osaka, Japan, making him the first Japanese player to reach double digits in both home runs and wins.
  4. He started the 2015 NPB All-Star Game 1 for the Pacific League
  5. In 2016, he hit 22 home runs in 104 games and 382 plate appearances.
  6. In 2017, he played in 65 games, hitting .332 with 8 homers and 31 runs batted in (RBI) while posting a 3–2 record, a 3.20 earned run average (ERA) and 29 strikeouts as a pitcher.
  7. On November 21, 2017, the MLB and the NPB came to a posting agreement for him. On December 8, 2017, he agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Angels, which was finalized on December 9, 2017.
  8. On March 29, 2018, he made his MLB debut as the designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels. He made his pitching debut on April 1, 2018 and hit his first MLB home run on April 3, 2018.
  9. On November 12, 2018, he was named the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year.
  10. On June 13, 2019, he became the first MLB player born in Japan to hit for the cycle.
  11.  On July 24, 2020, he was the first ever automatic player on second base in an official MLB game.
  12. On February 8, 2021, he agreed to a two-year $8.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, avoiding arbitration. On June 18, 2021, he became the first pitcher and the first Japanese player to be elected to the 2021 Home Run Derby. On July 20, 2021, he signed an exclusive multiyear memorabilia deal with Fanatics. On July 26, 2021, he became the first MLB pitcher to register 100 strikeouts. On November 16, 2021, it was announced that he joined cryptocurrency exchange FTX as a global ambassador. He was 27 years old when he was unanimously voted the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player on November 18, 2021.
  13. On March 25, 2022, he was named as the Opening Day starter for the Los Angeles Angels’ 2022 season and pitched 4+2⁄3 innings against the Houston Astros, making him the first MLB player to start Opening Day as both the starting pitcher and the leadoff hitter.

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