Jun Hirose Breaks NPB Record

Jun Hirose is not one of the top name players in the NPB.  He has been playing for the Hiroshima Carp for 12 years, putting up modest numbers, with a batting average settling around .270.  His best year was in 2010 when he hit .309 with 12 homeruns.  It is the only season when he has hit double digits in homeruns.

He is 34 years old, probably too old now for any major league team to be interested.  This year he has done what no hitter in NPB history has done, even Ichiro Suzuki.  He has gotten on base in 15 consecutive at bats.  The previous NPB record was held by three players, Tokitaka Minamibuchi (Lotte, 1993), Yoshinobu Takahashi (Yomiuri, 2003) and Michihiro Ogasawara (Nippon Ham, 2003).  The major league record for most consecutive times on base is held by Frank “Piggy” Ward with Cincinnati in 1893 when he got on base 17 consecutive times with eight hits and eight walks and one hit by pitch.  Ted Williams has the modern day record when he reached base in 16 consecutive plate appearances with Boston in 1957 when he recorded six hits, walked nine times and was hit by a pitch.

Jun started his streak rather modestly with a single in the eighth inning of a game against the Yomiuri Giants.  The game went into extra innings and he was hit by a pitch in the tenth inning.

In his second game playing against the Yakult Swallows he was hit by pitch in his first at bat and walked in his next three.  In the second game against the Yakult Swallows he stroked two singles, a double, walked and was hit by a pitch.

Yesterday against the Chunichi Dragons Jun went 4 for 4 with three singles and a double.

Jun has not been a regular player to start the season but with .533 batting average in 40 at bats, playing in only half of the Carp’s 25 games he may start to see a lot more playing time.  He has a chance to surpass the major league record in his next couple at bats when his manager has the motivation to put his name in the lineup card.  If Juno keeps getting on base and hitting over .500 Juno can create his own motivation.

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