Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani became the sixth person in MLB history to record at least 30 home runs and 10 stolen bases before the All-Star break. He did so by hitting his 30th home run on Friday, July 2 against the Baltimore Orioles. As of Friday night, he had 30 home runs and 12 stolen bases.
Given the two-way nature of Ohtani’s game, it feels as though he breaks a new record each and every night. However, he usually makes history by putting up prolific hitting numbers as a pitcher or vice versa. This time, his record is solely based on his offense, completely putting his pitching out of the picture.
Ohtani joins an elite crew of all-time greats, Hall of Famers, and current top-tier players as one of just six to achieve this level of offensive dominance before the first half of the season has come to an end, according to ESPN Stats and Info:
By Ohtani hitting his 30th home run on July 2, he actually became one of the fastest to reach this incredible feat, cementing his status as MVP frontrunner.
Reggie Jackson — who was the first to do it — needed until July 16 to steal his 10th base. He had already hit 35 home runs by this time. Jackson finished fifth in MVP voting that season after slowing down considerably after the All-Star Break. He ended the year with 47 home runs and 13 stolen bases.
Brady Anderson was the next to complete this feat 27 years later. He hit his 30th home run — and stole his 12th base — on July 7. Ohtani currently holds this exact combination five days earlier. Anderson would surprisingly finish ninth in MVP voting despite hitting 50 home runs and stealing 21 bases.
The third player to do this was Sammy Sosa in 1998. He completed his 30th home run and 10th stolen base by June 21, and had added three more home runs by Ohtani’s July 2. Sosa won the MVP award in 1998 by hitting 66 home runs.
Finally, the remaining two are current players. Albert Pujols (2009) and Christian Yelich (2019) both reached this feat on July 1, one day before Ohtani. Pujols would go on to win the MVP award that season while Yelich would finish second to L.A. Dodgers star Cody Bellinger.
Joe Maddon swoons over Ohtani’s epic performance
After Ohtani hit two home runs and stole the base that led to a walk-off single, Joe Maddon ran out of words to describe what his two-way superstar can do. The Angels needed all of it, as they barely escaped the Orioles with an 8-7 win.