Shohei Ohtani had a historic season in 2021, winning the AL MVP Award and becoming the first player since 1919 to perform as both a starting pitcher and full-time batter.
Ohtani’s amazing performance also earned him another prestigious honor — card #1 in the 2022 Topps Series 1 Baseball set. The two-way star will appear as a hitter and pitcher on the cover of the series box and on wax packs. He was selected for card #1 in the 330-card set in voting by fans, Topps announced Wednesday.
Topps Series 1 will be released on Feb. 16.
Ohtani had a season for the ages in 2021, becoming the game’s first two-way star since legendary Hall of Famer Babe Ruth in 1919.
In 155 games as the Angels’ DH, Ohtani hit .257 with a slash line of .257/.372/.592 with a .965 OPS. More impressively, he hit 46 home runs with 100 RBI and 103 runs scored. He also had 26 stolen bases and led the American League with eight triples.
As a starting pitcher, Ohtani was 9-2 with a 3.18 and 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings pitched.
Ohtani’s stats are similar to the Babe’s numbers in 1919, his least season as a full-time starting pitcher and hitter. In 1919, Ruth batted .322 with a slash line of .322/.456/.657 with an OPS of 1.114. He also slugged 29 home runs with 113 RBI, 103 runs, 34 doubles, 12 triples and seven stolen bases. As a pitcher, Ruth was 9-5 with a 2.97 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 133 innings pitched.
Ohtani joins such legends as Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams and Nolan Ryan and current stars Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. as players who have earned the #1 card in a Topps set.