Motonobu Tanishige had 1,998 hits coming into tonight's game against the Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium. He struck out swinging in his first at bat in the 3rd inning before hitting a game-tying two-run double to left in the 4th for his 1,999th hit. In the top of the 6th, with Takehiko Oshimoto on the mound for Yakult, Tanishige hit an 0-1 fork into right for hit number 2,000.
Tanishige is the forty-fourth player in NPB history to reach the 2,000-hit milestone. At forty-two years and four months, he is the oldest player to reach the milestone -- the previous high of forty-one years and five months was set by Shinya Miyamoto last year. He also joins Katsuya Nomura and Atsuya Furuta as the only catchers in NPB history to reach the milestone.
UPDATE 5/7 @ 1:54am - Sponichi has posted portions of Tanishige's post-game interview:
How do you feel now that you reached the milestone?
I feel like I finally accomplished it. But I feel badly about the team dropping to eight game under .500. I thought I might feel someone different at the moment of contact, but it felt no different.
You were able to accomplish the feat in front of your parents and children.
My parents and my youngest son came. It also happened to be my youngest son's birthday today, so it was a good way to celebrate. My son gave me a board with the words "Congratulations on hit 2,000."
You are the third catcher to record 2,000 hits.
In the past, there were only Katsuya Nomura and Atsuya Furuta. If I consider how I am the third, I feel I did a pretty good job. I was always batting seventh or eighth, never in the middle of the order. I got here because I just kept chipping away.
You are in the books for taking the longest and being the oldest to reach the milestone.
That is just working within my abilities, doing the things I can do at the moment. I was not doing it consciously. I do not feel anything about being the oldest when achieving the milestone.
What helped you make it to the milestone?
If you were take baseball away from Tanishige, he would be a man that can do nothing. It was my love for baseball that kept me going.
Source: Sponichi 5/6/2013
Countdown to 2,000