Ramirez eyes 2,000 hits


Alex Ramirez has his eyes on the future.

The Yomiuri Giants slugger surpassed NPB great Sadaharu Oh by recording his eighth consecutive season with at least 100 RBIs on Thursday against the Chunichi Dragons.

Standing in the depths of Tokyo Dome just hours after his achievement, Ramirez revealed he had an even loftier goal planned for his next act.

“My next goal is to be able to get 2,000 hits and be able to play every single day as long as I’m here in Japan,” Ramirez said. “I would like to do those things and hopefully become a manager someday here in Japan.”

In the history of Japanese baseball, only 37 players have reached the 2,000-hit plateau. Current active players who have accomplished the feat are Takuro Ishii (2,384 with the Yokohama Taiyo Whales, who became the BayStars after Ishii’s fourth year, and Hiroshima Carp), Tomoaki Kanemoto (2,352 with the Carp and Hanshin Tigers) and Tomonori Maeda (2,086 with the Carp).

Yomiuri Giants infielder Michihiro Ogasawara had 1,959 hits through Friday’s games and will likely be the next to reach 2,000.

No foreign player has reached the mark, with Tuffy Rhodes’ 1,792 hits being the closest. Through Friday, Ramirez stood at 1,674 hits.

If he does make it to 2,000, Ramirez stands a chance at becoming the first foreign member of the Meikyukai, whose membership has stated it would open their doors to a foreign player.

While Ramirez was looking ahead he was also well aware of the significance of his accomplishment on Thursday.

Despite playing most of his career with the Yakult Swallows, Ramirez was proud to break Oh’s mark in a Giants uniform.

“Being with the Giants is totally different than being with any other team,” Ramirez said. “In both leagues. I take a lot of pride that I did it with this organization. So many great players have been here in Japan and they haven’t done something like this. For me to be able to accomplish this with the Giants is something very special.

“Of course, I’m very thankful to the Yakult Swallows for giving me the opportunity to start my career here in Japan and for all they did for me.”

Ramirez was also thankful for the people behind the scenes who have aided him throughout his career.

“To be able to do something like this, it takes a lot,” Ramirez said. “To have good trainers and good strength coaches really helps. That’s the reason why I have been on the field every single day. Because of the way they do things with me, my preparation has been great.

“So I want to thank all of them. Also, of course, the manager and coaching staff for helping me and believing in me.”