Shohei Ohtani Matches Hideki Matsui's Home Run Record

Ohtani shines despite team setbacks, showcasing unmatched skill.

by Nouman Rasool
Shohei Ohtani Matches Hideki Matsui's Home Run Record
© Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

In a thrilling game against the San Diego Padres, Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Dodgers' two-way star, hit a significant milestone by smashing his 175th career home run, equaling the legendary Hideki Matsui's record for the most homers by a Japanese-born player in Major League Baseball (MLB).

Despite the Dodgers ultimately losing 8-7 in extra innings, the day belonged to Ohtani, whose performance etched his name alongside one of Japan's greatest baseball icons. Ohtani's fourth homer with the Dodgers, a personal triumph that resonated deeply back in Japan, demonstrated his growing influence in the game.

Reflecting on the feat, Ohtani could only say he was "proud and humbled. "You're just happy personally, it's an honor to be on the same stage with him, and obviously, it's a big thing in the Japanese baseball industry," acknowledging the fact of matching Matsui's record.

Matsui, who has become one of Japan's most iconic athletes, is certainly idolized by so many aspiring athletes from his home country, including Ohtani, who remains a towering figure in the sport. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also found time to praise Ohtani's resiliency and poise, which he has particularly shown of late in the middle of a noisy off-field news cycle.

"He's really unflappable, he really is," Roberts said, pointing out that he's been impressed with Ohtani's unflappable nature since that story came out about his former interpreter's wife being involved in a gambling scandal.

Despite the distractions, Ohtani's performance has remained stellar. "This is something that will play out how it should. There has to be a trust fall for the players, and there was. No one has handled it better than him," added Roberts.

Ohtani's Resilient Comeback

His stats this year are really an outward reflection of focus and determination. He batted .353 with an OPS of 1.098; both to go along with nine RBIs. With those nine RBIs, he tagged on four more home runs to show exceptional form.

This was bound to further strengthen his capacity to face adversity and come back to perform better on the field, once he had been exonerated via the Department of Justice investigation. "Very grateful for the Department of Justice's investigation, like to focus on baseball," Ohtani remarked.

As the season rolls along, the Dodgers will be counting on Ohtani to do more than break Matsui's record and help fire them to a World Series title. Although it may not have been a perfect way with which the team started the season, there is great optimism from within, which has been actually invoked with amazing contributions made by Ohtani.

If anything, it just heightens the allure to the franchise and its fans. Every game Ohtani plays, per consequence, is a must-see event simply because he is playing in it.

Shohei Ohtani