NAGOYA – Yokohama BayStars third baseman Norihiro Nakamura hit his 400th career home run in a game against the Chunichi Dragons on Sunday, becoming the 18th player to achieve the feat in Japanese baseball.
The 39-year-old Nakamura went deep off 47-year-old lefty Masahiro Yamamoto with one out in the second inning, sending a 1-0 fastball over the left field wall at Yokohama Stadium for his 10th homer of the season. It took Nakamura 2,195 games to reach the milestone, more than any previous player with 400 homers.
At 39 years, 11 months, Nakamura is the third oldest to hit his 400th after Takeshi Yamasaki, who hit his at 42 years, 9 months when he played for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, and former Hanshin Tigers outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto who was 40 years, 1 month.
Nakamura hit his first home run with the Kintetsu Buffaloes in a game against the Nippon Ham Fighters on June 18, 1992. Drafted in the fourth round by Kintetsu in 1991, Nakamura won the Pacific League home run and RBI titles in 2000.
He followed that with his second consecutive RBI title in 2001. Nakamura joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005 but was limited to five hits in 17 games with no home runs that season.
Upon his return to Japan in 2006, he played for the Orix Buffaloes before stints with the Chunichi Dragons, Rakuten and the BayStars, who he joined in May 2011. This season, Nakamura had his 2,000th career hit in Japanese baseball.