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Yokohama Bay Stars: Norihiro Nakamura reaches 2,000-hit milestone

by on May.05, 2013 @ 6:52 pm, under NPB

Norihiro Nakamura recorded his 2,000th hit today during a game against the Chunichi Dragons at Nagoya Dome.  Nakamura entered the game two hits short of the milestone.  He walked in his first at bat, fouled out to right in his second at bat, and then closed the gap to one hit with a single to center in his third at bat in the 5th inning.  After fouling out to the catcher in the 7th, he got another try in the 8th -- with runners on first and second and one out, he hit an 0-1 fastball to center for a two-run double off Kenichi Nakata.

Nakamura is the forty-third player in NPB history to reach the 2,000-hit milestone.

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UPDATE 5/6 @ 1:23am -

Nikkan Sports has posted portions of Nakamura's post-game interview.

How do you feel right now?

I took a few detours along the way and got to experience a number of different things.  I am really grateful to everyone I met along the way.

On reaching the milestone at Nagoya Dome.

I spent two years in the Dragons organization and the cheering fans made a big impression on me.  I wanted to somehow make it to today and reach the milestone at Nagoya Dome.  I feel relieved.

On reaching 2,000 hits.

When I popped out to the catcher in the previous at bat, I thought it would be impossible for me to do it today.  I owe it to my teammates for keeping the game going.  I do not really remember much about my 2,000th hit, or at least what I did in order to get it.  I have never experienced anything like this before.  So this is what it feels like to hit 2,000.  I do not know why I cannot remember anything.

[Motonobu] Tanishige presented you with flowers.

I asked him to excuse me for reaching the milestone first.  He congratulated me.

You reached the milestone on May 5.

I heard about the ceremonies for Nagashima-san and Matsui-san and initially thought about avoiding the milestone today, but as I got my swings at the plate, I just wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.  I am glad I was able to make it.

What was the most difficult thing that happened in your career?  The best thing in your career?

Too many good things happened that I cannot choose one.  There was a time when I was having a difficult time finding a team to play for.  When I was at home, my daughters were worried and avoided talking about baseball.  That was a hard time for me.

What does your family mean to you?

I was able to make it to 2,000 because of my family.  I worked hard because I wanted to extend my career as long as possible for my family to see.

What is your new goal?

In terms of personal goals, I would like to hit one more grand slam to move into a tie with [Sadaharu] Oh.  Beyond that, I want to do my best to help my team make the Climax Series, move one step closer to a championship.

Source: Nikkan Sports 5/5/2013

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Countdown to 2,000

Hit Game # Date Opponent Pitcher Venue
1   6/18/1992 Nippon Ham Kono, Hirofumi Fujiidera Stadium
1,000 1066 5/29/2002 Lotte Minchey, Nathan Osaka Dome
1,500 1591 9/26/2007 Yomiuri Takahashi, Hisanori Tokyo Dome
2,000 2162 5/5/2013 Chunichi Nakata, Kenichi Nagoya Dome

Note: If the five hits he recorded with the LA Dodgers is included, he recorded his 2,000th career hit on May 1, 2013 vs Yakult at Yokohama Stadium off Katsuki Akagawa.