MLB Home Run Derby Competitor Shares $150K Winnings With Team Staff

Nicknamed “Sho-time,” Los Angeles Angels player Shohei Ohtani is a fan favorite. The two-way superstar is a pitcher and a designated hitter, routinely smacking home runs out of Major League Baseball ball fields. In June, the 27-year-old was recognized as the American League’s “Player of the Month.” And he entered the MLB’s All-Star Weekend this July 9-13 on a streak, leading the league in home runs.

Ohtani is undoubtedly a versatile player on the field. Off the field, though, he’s quite generous. The superstar earned $150,000 for his participation in the annual Home Run Derby, and he turned around and distributed the money to Angels support staff. As a gesture of gratitude, he doled out his Derby earnings to about 30 Angels employees, including trainers, clubhouse workers and media relations staffers, according to The Orange County Register.

AP Photo/Gabriel Christu

The newspaper reported that Ohtani had apparently decided he was going to distribute the Derby winnings to staff no matter how he fared in the All-Star event. (The prize for winning the Derby is $1 million and $500,000 for second place.) This year, the Mets’ Pete Alonso won the Home Run Derby and the Orioles’ Trey Mancini was the runner-up.

During the Derby, Ohtani lost in the first round to the Nationals’ Juan Soto. Still, he put on an entertaining performance in Denver’s Coors Field, clobbering a half dozen 500-foot home runs in a single round, the most in a single Home Run Derby since Statcast began tracking in 2016, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Ultimately, he lost in a three-swing swing-off.

Here’s the tweet from ESPN:

Ohtani also made history at All-Star Week. He was not only the first Japanese-born player to participate in the Home Run Derby, but also the first pitcher to do so, according to The Atlantic. Even better, he became the AL’s winning pitcher and its leadoff hitter the following night, on July 13, during the 2021 All-Star Game.

With his grand gesture off the field, it seems especially fitting that he plays for a team named the Angels.