Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani is already heading to the National Baseball Hall of Fame ... or, at least, part of his uniform is going. The cap Ohtani wore throughout the 2023 World Baseball Classic is heading to the Hall of Fame following Ohtani's MVP performance in the tournament.
That's not the only piece of memorabilia heading to the Hall. Five other items from team Japan — Masataka Yoshida's bat, Munetaka Murakami's batting gloves and helmet, Shota Imanaga's jersey and a pullover worn by manager Hideki Kuriyama — will also make the trip. Murakami went 1-for-4 in the final game, hitting a home run in the second inning. Imanaga started the contest, giving up a run over two innings.
But the standout of the entire event was Ohtani. Against team USA, Ohtani went 1-for-3 with a walk and came on as a pitcher in the ninth to close the game. Baseball fans got a dream matchup with two outs, as Ohtani faced Angels teammate Mike Trout. Ohtani came out victorious, striking out Trout on a wicked 3-2 slider.
As he celebrated, Ohtani threw his glove and cap — yes, the same one heading to the Hall of Fame. Ohtani finished the event hitting .435, added a home run and walked 10 times. He posted a 1.86 ERA over 9 2/3 innings. That performance earned him the WBC MVP award.
Team USA also donates items to National Baseball Hall of Fame
The National Baseball Hall of Fame will receive three items from Team USA. Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner will donate two items: his spikes and the batting gloves he wore against Cuba. Turner was the best player on team USA throughout the tournament. He tied a tournament record by hitting five home runs to propel the U.S. to the final game.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will send his cap to the Hall. Wainwright started two games for Team USA during the event, giving up a run over four innings against Great Britain and one run over five innings against Cuba. The United States won both contests.