AP names Angels’ Shohei Ohtani as Male Athlete of Year for 2021

Shohei Ohtani’s latest award goes beyond the baseball world.

Ohtani was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year on Tuesday, an award Ohtani won against the top players in the other pro sports as well as the Olympics.

LeBron James won the award in 2020 after leading the Lakers to an NBA title. James also won the award in 2013, 2016 and 2018.

Ohtani is the first baseball player to win the award since Houston Astros second baseman José Altuve in 2017. The only other baseball players to win in the 21st century were San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds in 2001 and Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner in 2014.

Angels superstar Mike Trout, who is the consensus best player in the sport and a three-time MVP, has never won the AP award.

Although baseball players have rarely been able to break through for this award against the athletes in other sports, Ohtani did so with a historic performance as a two-way player.

Ohtani was the first player since Babe Ruth more than 100 years earlier to have such sustained success as a hitter and a pitcher in the same season. Few others have even attempted to be two-way players since then.

Ohtani hit 46 home runs and posted a .957 OPS over 537 at-bats. He also started 23 games as a pitcher, going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA. He produced a major league-leading 9.1 Wins Above Replacement, according…

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Jeff Fletcher

Jeff Fletcher

Los Angeles Daily News

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Angels beat writer, SoCal News Group. Author of Sho-Time: The Inside Story of Shohei Ohtani and the Greatest Baseball Season Ever Played (available July ’22)