The idea of an Asian player winning an individual major league title seemed unthinkable. In particular, the major titles that correspond to the Triple Crown – a pitcher’s wins, earned run average, and strikeouts, and a batter’s batting average, home runs, and RBIs – were considered “unfeeling.
However, in 1995, Hideo Nomo broke this “bias” once and for all when he led the National League (NL) in strikeouts. Nomo joined the Los Angeles Dodgers that year, and with his “tornado” pitching style, he went 13-6 with a 2.54 ERA, 236 strikeouts, and was named NL Rookie of the Year. He led the NL in strikeouts.
In 2001, Nomo struck out 220 batters for the Boston Red Sox to win the American League (AL) strikeout title. In other words, he won the strikeout title in both leagues once. He was also the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in both leagues.
Darvish Yudhoyudha won the title in 2013 with the Texas Rangers, striking out 277 batters. He led both leagues that year. This helped him finish second in the AL Cy Young Award voting, behind the Detroit Tigers’ Max Scherzer.
Have there been other Asian big league winners, of course. Taiwanese-born Wang Chien-Ming is one of them. He tied for the AL lead with 19 wins (6 losses) in 2006 as a New York Yankees ace. Minnesota Twins left-hander Johan Santana also won 19 games. Santana was the AL Cy Young Award winner that year.
Ryu Hyun-jin also makes Asian big league history. He is the only Asian pitcher to win a major league ERA title. In 2019, he posted a 2.32 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers, leading both leagues as well as the NL. The AL ERA that year was topped by Gerrit Cole of the Houston Astros (2.50), but Ryu was a frontrunner for the NL Cy Young Award before slipping in August and losing out to Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.
On the other side of the ball, Ichiro Suzuki stands out. He joined the Seattle Mariners in 2001 and quickly realized his dream of conquering the major leagues. He batted .350 with 242 hits, 127 runs scored, and 56 stolen bases en route to winning the AL Rookie of the Year and MVP. Ichiro also led the AL in batting in 2004, hitting .372 to lead both leagues. His 262 hits were the most in a single season in history, breaking the record of 257 set by George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns in 1920 after 84 years.
However, no Asian player has ever led the league in home runs or RBIs. As for pitchers, they can dominate the major leagues with excellent delivery, sharp pitches, and savvy game management. The same goes for batting, where contact and initiative are key. But in the home run category, where power is key, it was considered “unthinkable” to compete against American and Latin American players with superior strength, elasticity, and balance.
Even Hideki Matsui, the best power hitter in the East, has never cracked the “top 10” in home runs, let alone won a title, since joining the Yankees in 2003. Matsui’s 31 home runs in 2004 are the most ever by an Asian hitter.
However, Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) is the first Asian to win a home run title. He will make history as the first Asian to win a major league home run title since the inception of the NL and AL systems in 1901.
Ohtani, whose season ended prematurely after undergoing elbow surgery on May 20, still leads the AL in home runs. His last home run came more than a month ago, on Aug. 24, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds. In the bottom of the first inning, he pulled a 92.9 mph fastball from Andrew Abbott for a 442-foot blast to the right-center field wall.
It was his 44th home run of the season. The AL home run leader, Lewis Robert Jr. of the Chicago White Sox, is seven behind Ohtani with 37. He has nine games left to catch Ohtani.온라인바카라
However, Ohtani is on pace to surpass his career-high of 46 homers, which he set in 2021. And his RBI title hunt, which has been interrupted by injury, remains in question.