Shohei Ohtani Sets New MLB Record For Most Home Runs By Japanese-Born Player

Shohei Ohtani hit his 176th career home run, surpassing Hideki Matsui for the most ever by a Japanese-born player in MLB history.

Ohtani’s record home run came while the Los Angeles Dodgers were facing the New York Mets in the third inning against Adrian Houser.

Ohtani tied Matsui earlier this season by hitting a 175th career home run against Michael King in the first inning against the San Diego Padres.

“I’m happy personally,” Ohtani said after tying the record. “And it’s an honor to be able to be on the same stage as him. And obviously it’s a big deal in the Japanese baseball industry as well. So I’m going to look forward to the next one.”

Ohtani has long called Matsui an idol of his, and he was aware he was approaching the number to tie.

“It’s just an honor to be able to be associated with somebody like that,” Ohtani said after tying Matsui’s record.

Matsui played in 1,236 career games, while Ohtani achieved the record in just 725 games. However, Matsui also added 10 home runs in the postseason, while Ohtani has yet to play in an MLB playoff game.

Matsui played 10 years at the Major League level, spending seven with the New York Yankees where he hit 140 of his home runs. Matsui also spent time with the Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics.

Matsui hit 31 homers during the 2004 season, which was the most he had in a single year. He also reached 20 homers or more in four other seasons, most recently with the Angels in 2010.

Ohtani’s career high came during the 2021 season when he hit 46 home runs. Ohtani also surpassed the 30-home run mark during the 2022 season when he hit 34.

All but five of Ohtani’s career home runs have been with the Angels, but he figures to slug many more with the Dodgers after signing a 10-year contract in the offseason.

Ohtani and Matsui hold the top nine spots on the single-season home run list among players born in Japan, and Seyia Suzuki of the Chicago Cubs holds the 10th spot with 20 last season.

Ichiro Suzuki is the only other Japanese-born player to have surpassed 100 home runs in the Major Leagues, as he hit 117 over his career.

No other Japanese players have reached 50 home runs in the Majors, with Kenji Johjima fourth on the all-time list with 48. Tadahito Iguchi hit 44 to round out the top-five.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts ranks 10th all-time with 23.

Shohei Ohtani closing in on Dodgers record

Roberts currently holds the Dodgers franchise record for most home runs by a Japanese player with seven, but Ohtani trails him by just two now.

“I still got a couple days until my record’s broken,” Roberts joked after Ohtani hit his fourth with the Dodgers.

Ohtani also passed Hideo Nomo for sole possession of second place in Dodgers history.

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