Atsunori Inaba (Nippon Ham Fighters): 1,999 hits, needs one more
Inaba has a chance to become the first player in NPB history to record his 2,000th hit and 250th home run in one swing. Three players have hit homers for their 2,000th hit (Makoto Matsubara in 1980, Hideji Kato in 1987, and Hiromitsu Ochiai in 1995), but none were also significant home run milestones.
And according to Sponichi, of the thirty-eight players that reached 2,000 hits in the past, thirty-two players ended games with 1,999 hits. Of those, twenty-four recorded their 2,000th hit during the next game they played.
Assuming Inaba reaches the milestone, the Fighters will hold a 2,000 Hit Ceremony for Inaba on May 23 (vs Yokohama at Sapporo Dome).
Meikyukai Jacket presenter: undecided
Shinya Miyamoto (Yakult Swallows): 1,993 hits, needs seven more
Shinya Miyamoto Countdown Boards (2,000 yen) will hit stadium store shelves on May 1.
The Swallows are guessing (hoping) Miyamoto will reach 2,000 hits during the team's three game series against Hiroshima Carp between May 4 and 6 (at Jingu). The team might even have him sit out some road games depending on how well he hits.
The team is thinking about holding a 2,000 Hit Ceremony for both Miyamoto and former Swallow Atsunori Inaba when the Nippon Ham Fighters play two games at Jingu later next month (May 30-31). That is, of course, assuming that both players have reached the milestone by then.
The Musashi Koyama Palm shopping area in Shinagawa is also prepared -- they plan to put up a banner and 130 flags the moment he reaches the milestone. They also plan to hold ceremony with Miyamoto as their guest. The shopping area has set aside a total budget of 1M yen to celebrate Miyamoto's milestone.
* Junji Ogawa was the scout in charge of both Miyamoto and Inaba.
Meikyukai Jacket presenter: at the request of Miyamoto, Tsutomu Wakamatsu
Hiroki Kokubo (Softbank Hawks): 1,979 hits, needs twenty-one more
Meikyukai Jacket presenter: will likely be Sadaharu Oh