Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani didn’t make it past the first round of the Home Run Derby this week but that didn’t stop the All-Star pitcher from donating his $150,000 in earnings to around 30 staffers within the organization, according to multiple reports.
Ohtani was awarded the money for participating in the event but instead of keeping it for himself, he distributed checks to several staffers, including trainers, clubhouse workers and members of the media relations department before Friday’s game against the Seattle Mariners, sources told The Orange County Register.
According to the report, Ohtani had decided before the event that he planned to donate the prize money regardless of how far he went. New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who won the Derby, walked away with $1 million.
Ohtani made history, becoming the first Japanese player to ever participate in the Home Run Derby and by becoming the first player in All-Star history to be selected as both a pitcher and hitter.
He entered Monday’s event at the No. 1 seed but was eliminated early on after a tense swing-off with Washington National’s Juan Soto who beat him by three home runs. Ohtani impressed in Tuesday’s All-Star game after throwing a perfect first inning in the American League’s 5-2 victory.
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith came under heavy criticism last week after making insensitive remarks about Ohtani, suggesting his emergence as MLB’s top star wasn’t necessarily a good thing because he has to speak through an interpreter. He later apologized saying it wasn’t his intention to offend the Asian community — or any community for that matter.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and The Associated Press contributed to this report.