Think Shohei Ohtani is the greatest baseball player ever?
You just got hand-waved by Mike Francesa.
“Not even a little bit do I agree with that,” the WFAN legend said on his latest BetRivers podcast.
“I don’t think he’s done anywhere near enough to be called that. I think that is ridiculous. I’m sorry. You know what? Check out what Babe Ruth did before you’re going to tell me what Ohtani did. Go look at Babe Ruth’s pitching statistics in the regular season, in the World Series, career-wise. And then look at his offense, and tell me how you would possibly think Ohtani was better than Babe Ruth?
“It doesn’t make any sense. People say a lot of silly things. That’s a silly thing.”
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There has been a wave of Ohtani GOAT talk since the Angels’ two-way phenom struck out teammate Mike Trout to close out Japan’s win over Team USA in the World Baseball Classic final. And we have to agree with Francesa — it is quite silly. Ohtani is a great player. And a historic and iconic one. But even when you account for eras and his unprecedented success as a batter and pitcher, the argument is still a shaky one.
Ruth was a far more dominant hitter than Ohtani. And while Ohtani may be a better pitcher than he was, based on metrics like WAR, there is no guarantee he will be able to sustain that for his career. And if Ohtani stops pitching — like the Yankees great did — he will not be able to hold a candle to the Bambino at the plate based on his current trajectory. And we have not even touched on Ohtani’s lack of postseason success and championships. Or brought other immortals like Barry Bonds or Joe DiMaggio or Willie Mays or Ted Williams into the discussion.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.