Nishiyama: Japanese baseball prodigy sets rare Ruthian record

From George Nishiyama at the Wall Street Journal on September 8, 2014:

Japanese baseball sensation Shohei Otani became the first player ever in the country’s professional league to win 10 or more games as a pitcher and hit 10 or more home runs during the same season, the result of his rare “two-way” challenge to succeed both as a hurler and as a field player.

Even in Major League Baseball, the “double” record has only been achieved by the legendary Babe Ruth, who won 13 games and had 11 homers back in 1918.

The 20-year-old Otani, a first-round draft-pick playing in his second season for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, made history when he drove the ball into the center field stands in the top of the fourth inning in Sunday’s game against the Orix Buffaloes.

That was the 10th homer for Otani, who was the designated hitter in the game. He had already marked his 10th victory as a pitcher on Aug. 26.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: September 8, 2014. Last Updated: September 8, 2014.