Hideki Matsui congratulates Angels' Shohei Ohtani for breaking his home run record
Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani continues to amaze. The major leagues' home run leader launched his 32nd of the season Wednesday off Boston Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.
What made this homer memorable was not that he hit it after fouling pitches off his left foot and his right leg earlier in the at-bat. Or that it came one day after he pitched seven innings and got the win. Or that it made him the first player in MLB history to have at least 32 home runs and 12 stolen bases before the All-Star break.
The home run allowed Ohtani to break a tie with countryman Hideki Matsui for the most home runs in a single MLB season by a Japanese player.
Shohei Ohtani hit his 32nd home run, passing Hideki Matsui for most in an #MLB season by a Japanese player.
And oh yeah, he’s a pitcher and it’s not even the all-star break 🤯 pic.twitter.com/9aIRrCFyMA
— Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) July 7, 2021
Nicknamed "Godzilla," Matsui came to the major leagues from Japan in 2003 with a reputation as a prodigious home run hitter.
With the New York Yankees, Matsui hit 31 home runs in 2004 to set the mark Ohtani broke with his 433-foot blast to right field.
And there's still another half of the regular season left to play.
FULL-SEASON ALL-STARS: Stats reinforce Ohtani's excellence
Shortly after Ohtani crossed home plate, Matsui offered his congratulations.
"32 home runs in a season is just a passing point for a hitter like Shohei," Matsui said in a statement. "He exceeds what is considered conventional for a Major League player and there is no one else like him. I hope he continues his success this season as he carries the hopes and dreams of many fans and young children. As a baseball fan myself, I can't wait to see what he is able to do next."
Shohei Ohtani broke Hideki Matsui’s record for homers in a season by a Japanese-born player with 32 and Matsui released a statement: pic.twitter.com/Doe5O9oEfe
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) July 7, 2021
Like Matsui, the entire baseball world will be eagerly waiting to see what Ohtani does next week in Denver, the site of this year's All-Star Game.
Already the first player ever selected to the All-Star team as both a position player and a pitcher, Ohtani will also be taking part in the Home Run Derby.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Shohei Ohtani breaks Hideki Matsui's home run mark for Japanese player