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He is a physical specimen — 6-foot-4, 215 pounds — yet at 23, his frame is nowhere near as developed as the Nippon-Ham Fighters pitcher who wore jersey No. Ohtani has an unusually graceful delivery for a pitcher his size.

Ohtani’s mother was a national-level badminton player in high school.

The family resided in a nondescript two-story house that is typical of the region. With his height and wide shoulders, he towers over almost anyone he encounters, but his boyish facial features make him look younger than he is. He just likes to be close to somewhere he can train.”Ohtani has asked his parents to oversee his finances, including his $2.4-million salary from the Fighters.

But Ruth would not have covered the ground from the plate to first base in anything close to 3.8 seconds.

Ohtani was born in the rural town of Oshu in the northern prefecture of Iwate, which is known for its hot springs resorts and national parks, as well as livestock that produces high-grade beef.

In his first year at Hanamaki Higashi, Ohtani started out playing right field and batting cleanup.

Later in the school year, he moved to the mound with a fastball that touched 90 mph.Asked how much land 0 million could buy in the Iwate countryside, he gestured toward the forest-covered mountains and rice fields beyond the school’s all-dirt athletic grounds.Top: Shoehei Ohtani pitches for Japan's national team against Mexico during the Premier 12 baseball tournament at the Tokyo Dome in 2016.The area is about a three-hour train ride from Tokyo, but might as well be on another planet.There is plenty of open space, with rice field after rice field after rice field. There are small clusters of homes here and there, and many households burn their own trash, creating billows of smoke visible every few miles. His father, who worked at a local automobile manufacturing plant, used to play baseball in Japan’s semi-professional industrial league.Sure enough, a couple of hours into the game, he appeared with a companion. Ohtani headed directly toward the parking lot with his head down, reporters sprinting after him and cameras flashing, lighting up an otherwise dark area.

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