Shohei Ohtani was born in Japan. For multiple years, he shined at Japan’s highest level of professional baseball. The pitcher and designated hitter then put his unique talents on full display in the US when he began playing in Major League Baseball.
This week, the three-time MLB All-Star revealed that he will donate thousands of baseball gloves to school children in his home country.
“I’m happy to announce that I will be donating approximately 60,000 youth gloves to every elementary school in Japan,” Ohtani said. “That comes out to around 20,000 elementary schools. I’m hoping the kids can spend their days happily with a lot of energy through baseball.”
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Ohtani, a free agent who has spent the past six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, announced Wednesday on Instagram that he’s donating the youth gloves to schools throughout Japan.
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The gloves Ohtani will donate are from New Balance, one of his corporate partners.
The 29-year-old is coming off a season in which he batted .304 with 44 home runs and also went 10-5 on the mound with a 3.14 ERA.
He stopped pitching after he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in August. But he decided to keep playing, focusing strictly on hitting. He was eventually shut down in mid-September due to an oblique injury.
Ohtani then had Tommy John surgery for the second time in six years. He is expected to be able to hit next season, but likely will not pitch again until 2025.
He was expected to set the record for richest contract in league history, but the elbow injury has since tempered those expectations.
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Ohtani’s future was a constant source of speculation this past season, and chatter only seemed to increase after the Angels fell out of the playoff race in August.