The last man in the league to have such a good performance at both tasks was, well, Ruth, back in the 1910s.
However, the comparison is just not fair…to Ruth.
Ruth was mostly a pitcher in the mid-to-late 1910s, and started to hit full-time in the late-1910s – early-1920s.
But he never performed both activities full-time over the same season as Ohtani has done since entering the league in 2018.
This stat proves there is no comparison.
“Most pitching strikeouts in an MLB regular season by a player who hit 25+ home runs in that same season: 219 <—– Shohei Ohtani, 2022; 156 <—– Shohei Ohtani, 2021; 30 <—— Babe Ruth, 1919; 3 <——– Babe Ruth, 1930; 3 <——– Babe Ruth, 1921,” Codify Baseball tweeted.
Most pitching strikeouts in an MLB regular season by a player who hit 25+ home runs in that same season:
219 <—– Shohei Ohtani, 2022 🦄
156 <—– Shohei Ohtani, 2021 🦄
30 <—— Babe Ruth, 1919
3 <——– Babe Ruth, 1930
3 <——– Babe Ruth, 1921 pic.twitter.com/nxpanIQGkG
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) November 10, 2022
Ohtani Dominated As A Pitcher And Hitter In The Same Season
It’s true that home runs were not that common in the 1910s, and that pitchers relied more on weak contact than strikeouts for decades, including the Ruth days.
But in seasons in which he had 25 or more home runs, Ruth’s high in strikeouts as a pitcher was just 30.
Ohtani’s worst season under those criteria has him with 156 punchouts, which is what he got last year in his unanimous MVP campaign.
It would be sad if he lost the MVP this year while striking out more than 200 hitters and hitting more than 30 home runs: in other words, he had a better season in 2022 than in 2021, yet he is not favored to win the AL MVP award because Aaron Judge had a historic season with 62 round-trippers.
Perhaps the voting results will be closer than we all think.