Alex Ramirez thanked God before he reached first base. He continued along and touched the other bags as a light, constant rain fell on Jingu Stadium and the sparse crowd — 11,069 to be exact, though Ramirez would later say the place felt packed — that braved the promise of a Saturday downpour and watched him become the first foreign-born player in NPB history (42nd overall) to collect 2,000 hits, which he did with the 379th home run of his career.

“In the future, I will not have to say I was a good player anymore” Ramirez said. “I’m not going to have to say I was a good player in Japan. With this, it speaks for itself.”

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