Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rami-Chan First Foreign Player in NPB to Reach 2000 Hits

Photo Courtesy of
Sports Card Jambalaya
As those of you who have read this blog in the past know that I have kept an eye on the career of Alex Ramirez of Venezuela who has played the last 13 seasons in Japan. On April 7, 2013, Ramirez (affectionately known as Rami-Chan) now with the Yokohama DeNa Baystars of the Central League in the Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPB) reached the 2,000 hit plateau in stunning fashion. Playing against the team Ramirez initially signed with in the NPB (The Tokyo Yakult Swallows) at their homepark of Jingu Stadium, Ramirez hit his 379th career homerun. In doing so, Rami-Chan became only the 42nd player and first foreigner to surpass career 2,000 hits in the NPB.

So where does Rami-Chan rank in terms of foreign players in Japan? According to Jason Coskrey in his article Ramirez possibly top foreign-born player ever in NPB dated April 9, 2013:
Currently in his 13th season in Japan, Ramirez has a career .303 average, is 22nd on the all-time home run list and 20th in RBIs with 1,262 over his career with the Yakult Swallows, Yomiuri Giants and now Yokohama BayStars. Tuffy Rhodes is the lone foreign-born player with more homers (464) and RBIs (1,269)... A few could’ve laid claim to the title of “greatest foreign player,” but Ramirez’s longevity — the 38-year old has played in 1,696 games, the most by a foreign-born player — has set him apart.
The player with the most career hits in the history of the NPB was Isao Harimoto who according to Jim Albright (and Kaz Nagastsuka @kaznagatsuka for the heads up) is the only player in the history of the NPB to reach the 3,000 hit plateau (3,085). Based on that figure, I believe that reaching 2000 hits is similar to the 3000 plateau here in the United States since only one player in Japan has reached 3,000 hits.

Ramirez's achievement is a testament to his work ethic and perseverance in an environment that can often be difficult for foreign players to not only succeed but just to simply acclimate themselves to.

Here are Alex Ramirez's career statistics as of April 9th (Statistics courtesy of the Alex Ramirez page on the NPB website):

Player
GABRH2B3BHRRBI
BBSOSBCSOBPSLGAVGOPS
Alex Ramirez
169766118612000328123791262
30312442019 -  - .303 - 

I think that it is safe to state that Rami-Chan's chances for induction to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame are pretty certain. Felicidades Rami-Chan (ラミちゃんおめでとう).

FH

For Further Reading
- Click Here to Access the article Ramirez becomes first foreigner to reach 2,000-hit milestone in Japanese baseball by Jason Coskrey dated April 7, 2013 from the Japan Times website
- Click Here to Access the article Where No Westerner in Japan Has Gone by Brad Lefton dated July 7, 2012 from the New York Times website
- Click Here to Access Rami-chan, the Dominant Latino Gaijin in Japan dated April 8, 2010 from my Latinoball blog page
- Click Here to Access Return to Japan to look at Rami-Chan dated July 1, 2010 from my Latinoball blog page
- Click Here to Access Latino Milestones in the U.S. and Japan dated September 1, 2010 from my Latinoball blog page
- Click Here to Access 2010 Season Recap for Rami-Chan dated December 14, 2010 from my Latinoball blog page



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