Shohei Ohtani hit his 176th career home run in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Sunday night win against the New York Mets, breaking the record for most home runs by a Japanese-born player. Hideki Matsui was the previous record holder, hitting 175 home runs in 5,033 plate appearances, but Ohtani did it in only his 2,979th appearance. Ichiro Suzuki is the only other Japanese player to hit more than 50 home runs in the MLB, hitting 117 in his 19-year career.

“I’m happy personally,” Ohtani said through an interpreter after tying Matsui’s record last week. “It’s an honor to be on the same stage as him, and obviously, it’s a big deal in the Japanese baseball industry. So I’m going to look forward to the next one.”

Ohtani is still behind Matsui in overall career home runs as he hit 308 out of the park for the Japanese league Yomiuri Giants. Ohtani has 48 home runs in the Japanese league, but his total still sits at half of Matsui’s if all competitions are considered.

“His presence, his ability as a player, he’s just a great player,” Matsui said about Ohtani through an interpreter. The numbers on my end are just not comparable. I’m sure many fans have their expectations regarding what he may do and accomplish. As far as myself, my hope is just that he stays healthy.”

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter!

A week of sports news in your in-box.
We find the sports news you need to know, so you don't have to.

Ohtani’s home run on Sunday was also his fifth of the season, making him the second most successful Japanese-born hitter for the franchise. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, born in Japan due to his father stationed overseas, holds the record with seven home runs hit in his three years with the team from 2002-2004. With Ohtani only playing 25 games this year, he is also destined to break that record, most likely pretty soon.

Ohtani has hit a .364 batting average and a .430 on-base percentage during the year. He also currently leads the MLB in doubles, extra-base hits and overall total bases.

Coming off winning the 2023 AL MVP and signing a record-breaking 10-year $700 million contract with the Dodgers, the investment is paying off. And though he had surgery and isn’t expected to pitch this season, Ohtani’s stats continue to break records and draw more and more attention to him and the team.

Despite his success, Ohtani is still involved in the controversy regarding his previous interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, and his gambling debts. If found guilty, Mizuhara could face up to 30 years in prison. Ohtani and his camp have continued to shy away from Mizuhara and the case, saying they want to focus on baseball and leave the distractions behind.

As of April 24, the Los Angeles Dodgers hold a 14-11 record and are the top team in the NL West.

Read more about:

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Listen to the uInterview Podcast!
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!