Of course, Ruth gave up pitching because he was so good at hitting. But he was no slouch at pitching.
He's going to the Angels.
Shohei Ohtani is an international superstar along the lines of Ichiro Suzuki, and a 23-year-old talent with the long-term horizon of a Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. Most important, Ohtani wants to be a pitcher and a hitter on a regular basis. With the possible exception of Babe Ruth and Brooks Kieschnick, few players have aspired to that level of versatility.
So before Ohtani went about the business of picking a team, agent Nez Balelo and CAA took an unusual step and sent a questionnaire asking teams to outline their plans, philosophies and systems in place to help make this unprecedented partnership work.
"I didn't think the questionnaire was a big deal, because teams already had figured out they better have answers to those questions," said the general manager for a team that did not make Ohtani's final cut. "If you couldn't figure out what was going to be important, then you had no shot."
On Friday afternoon, the mystery came to an end. Ohtani and CAA announced that he had picked the Los Angeles Angels over six other finalists. Come spring training, Ohtani will join Trout and surefire Hall of Famer Albert Pujols in making Tempe Diablo Stadium a star-powered Cactus League destination.
The Angels can take gratification in having outlasted the competition. But in some respects, the hard work is just beginning. Here are some hurdles Ohtani and his new team will have to traverse in his transition from Japanese sensation to Major League Baseball fixture.