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"The only thing I can promise you is that I will play as much as I can and give 100 percent," Ohtani said. Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com last spring. "Fortunately, by doing that, I can inspire many people, perhaps in their personal lives, if they have other problems, and encourage them to see me play, which would probably be the most honorable thing about playing baseball."  Despite all the headlines and publicity, there are still things about Ohtani that many fans of American baseball do not know. Then, with the help of some Japanese baseball experts and historians, we put together this official "case file" from Ohtani.
Humble but athletic parenting: Ohtani's father, Toru, was a baseball player in Japan's high-quality corporate league, which produced Major League reliever Junichi Tazawa.
Ohtani's mother, Kayoko, was an accomplished badminton player. He was born in the agricultural city of Oshu, in the rural prefecture (state) of Iwate, where urban centers are few and rice fields abound. It is about three hours north of Tokyo, and it was near there that Ohtani attended Hanamaki Higashi High School.
"He's not a fan of the city of Tokyo," said Brad Lefton, a bilingual writer who covered baseball in Japan and the United States. States for years. "That could be part of the reason he's so admired, there's still an innocence for him, he does it his way, which I think connects with people because it's refreshing."
• The reds are definitely interested  Koshien's arrival: The famous baseball tournament of the Japanese high school, Summer Koshien, has been the birthplace of baseball legends Japanese. Ichiro Suzuki burst onto the scene there in 1991. The future great player Daisuke Matsuzaka became a sensation in that tournament in the '98, launching a game without hits and throwing 250 pitches in 17 innings at another start. Current Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka pitched 742 pitches in 52 2/3 innings in six appearances in the tournament in 2006.
Ohtani's team did not win Koshien summer, but it still captured the eyes of scouts and hearts of the fans when, days before his 18th birthday, he launched a fastball that was recorded at 160 kilometers per hour, or 99 mph. It was a record for a Japanese high school pitcher.
"Ohtani was different from the beginning," said Jim Allen, a Kyodo News writer who has been covering Japanese baseball for more than three decades. "I was going to play and throw, and there was so much controversy in Japan." The fans loved it, but most of the old ones made fun of it from the beginning, saying, "What are you doing?" But to the fans they loved it "
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Decision time: After Ohtani finished high school and established himself as a potential superstar, it was time for him to decide where professional ball would play. He surprised some on October 21, 2012, when he announced that he would give up the opportunity to become a professional in Japan, instead of opting to try the waters of Major League Baseball. As possible offers from the Dodgers, the Rangers, the Red Sox and the Yankees swarmed throughout the rumor factory, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NPB Draft.
Then in the course of a month, Nippon-Ham devised a long-term strategy that paid off. It was a presentation that the club called "The Way to Realize Shohani Ohtani's Dream," and it was a carefully calculated sales pitch that was based on reality and honesty about the tribulations of novice players in the United States.
"They put together a video," said Robert Whiting, best-selling author whose 1989 book "You have to have Wa" is considered seminal work in Japanese baseball. "It showed the really tough things that young minor leagues have to go through, and especially what Ohtani would have to go through: the lack of Japanese restaurants, the 18-hour bus rides, things like that."
"But he also highlighted how it would be an instant star with Nippon-Ham, how family and friends would be there, how would this comfortable cocoon. They would help train him to get to the big leagues. I would not have to waste my time worrying about anything more than that. "
Ohtani signed, putting his faith in Nippon-Ham, and that faith has been returned now that the club has agreed to publish it years earlier than it would be required.
The game of two ways: Ohtani was not always the "Japanese Babe Ruth" or, as a Reuters report in 2014 called it, a "Nito-ryu", or two-sword samurai. In fact, it reduced .238 / .284 / .376 for Nippon-Ham in his rookie season in 2013, while playing mainly in right field when he did not pitch, finished with a 3-0 record with a 4.23 ERA, 46 strikeouts and 33 walks. in 13 games (11 starts) on the mound.
"They came up to me," What do you think? Do you do both? ", said Ohtani to Sports Il. polished in April. "I definitely wanted to try it, I still thought I had the opportunity to be a great professional hitter."
Ohtani improved during his 19-year season the following year, hitting 10 homers in 212 at-bats. and breaking as a pitcher, scoring an 11-4 record with a 2.61 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 155 1/3 innings.
It was after the 2014 season that American fans first noticed Ohtani when he was playing for a Japanese All-Star team against the big-league stars in a series of exhibitions that November. Ohtani started the fifth and final game and struck out Yasiel Puig, Justin Morneau and Evan Longoria in the first inning, allowing two runs in seven innings of work while fanning seven.
Doug Miller is a MLB.com reporter. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB . This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.