In between pitching starts and hitting dingers, Shoehei Ohtani has also found time to sign a mountain of autographs.
Baseball’s two-way sensation has had signed cards on the market since he came over from Japan. Now, he’s got an exclusive partnership for autographs and some game-worn memorabilia.
Fanatics announced the deal on Tuesday, which adds yet another big name to its roster and a new array of signed merchandise on its Fanatics Authentic memorabilia and collectible platforms. A signing session has already taken place.
The collection of items – available with signatures and inscriptions in both English and Japanese – will include baseballs, bats, jerseys, photos and select game-used items.
“It’s an honor to join Fanatics as their latest exclusive athlete,” Ohtani stated in a news release. “Their global presence and reach throughout both the United States and Japan will help provide fans everywhere access to incredible products.”
Following a decorated career with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan, Ohtani made his much anticipated MLB debut in 2018 and proceeded to win the American League’s Rookie of the Year in his first season. This season, he leads both leagues in slugging percentage and home runs, is second in RBI and has 12 stolen bases. On the mound, he’s holding opponents to a .191 average with 95 strikeouts in 73 innings.
“Shohei Ohtani is a once-in-a-generation baseball talent and it’s incredibly exciting to welcome him to the Fanatics team,” said Fanatics executive vice president Victor Shaffer. “
Fanatics’ growing infrastructure and capabilities throughout Asia, which includes partnerships with several of the biggest Japanese baseball clubs including Ohtani’s former team, “will put products in the hands of fans in his native country faster than ever before,” according to the company.
Autographed Ohtani items on Fanatics’ sister site, SportsMemorabilia.com, start at $390 for an autographed 8×10 photo. Signed baseballs, including those with 2021 All-Star and Home Run Derby logos are priced at $450 while autographed jerseys range from $700-$900.
Ohtani’s signed memorabilia actually began appearing on Fanatics’ websites last week and according to ESPN, he quickly became the top selling player in baseball, with ten times as many of his items selling as the second ranked player. Since July 1, he’s the top selling athlete across all sports.