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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Japanese Babe Ruth?

There’s a Japanese baseball player named Otani Shohei (surname first) who has acquired the nickname of the “Japanese Babe Ruth.

As a 22-year-old in 2016, Otani was a pitcher with the professional Japanese baseball team the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, going 10Wins and four loses… very respectable numbers.

Babe Ruth, when he began his professional baseball career was one of the best pitchers in MLB (Major League Baseball).

But the real comparison occurs after Ruth becomes one of the most fared hitters in baseball history… as in 2016 Otani had a batting average of .322 and hit 22 home runs!

Now… Otani is no Babe Ruth.

Between 1914 and 1919, with four more wins in total in 1920, 1921, 1930 and 1933, Babe Ruth was an incredible 94W and 46L, with a career earned run average of 2.28 runs per nine innings pitched.

As a batter, Ruth—between 1914-1935—hit 714 Home Runs, 2,214 RBIs (runs batted in), and had a CAREER!!! .342 batting average.

Sorry, Otani… your numbers are very good, but you ain’t no Babe Ruth.

Just call him Otani… and avoid the Japanese Babe Ruth nickname…  

Anyhow, Otani was scheduled to take part in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, representing Japan and involving professional ball players from around the world, taking place March 6-22, 2017 across the United States, Mexico, Japan and South Korea.

But, he has recently hurt his right ankle, and will not participate.

Apparently Otani has said he would like to move to North America and play in the MLB after 2017, but MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement could limit his earning potential…. meaning teams can’t just throw money at him willy-nilly (like the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees - of course others have tries, but these teams have larger bankrolls than others.)

As such, with a possible limited payout, Otani may not feel it is in his best financial interests to go to the MLB.

However… if he was more interested in testing himself against arguable the best players on the planet, then it shouldn’t matter if he makes say US$3-million or $30-million.

It’s easy for me to say considering I’ll not make $3-million in my lifetime, let alone in a six-month baseball season… and if the roles were reversed, I’m sure I’d want to maximize my financial return - because who knows how long my career could be.

Oh yeah... the other reason why Otani is no Babe Ruth (besides the lack of longevity, hitting homeruns in smaller stadiums, NOT playing in the deadball era)... Babe Ruth was a left handed pitcher. Otani is not.

Andrew Joseph

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