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NEW YORK (AP) — It took four seasons for Shohei Ohtani to join the biggest major league stars of the last eight decades.

To commemorate Baseball Digest’s 80th anniversary, the publication selected 80 iconic players essential to telling the story of the game from 1942-2021.

Even though he didn’t arrive in the big leagues from Japan until 2018, the two-way phenom has made such an astounding impact as a hitter AND pitcher that Ohtani was one of 10 active players chosen by a 12-member panel of longtime MLB observers and participants.

The others spotlighted in the July/August issue were Mookie Betts, Miguel Cabrera, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Max Scherzer, Mike Trout and Justin Verlander.

Ohtani, who turned 28 on July 5, was the AL MVP last year and the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year. No player since Babe Ruth has been such a force both at the plate and on the mound.

Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier in April 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers was picked as the greatest of 30 iconic moments in the magazine’s history.


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