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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Dodgers snapshot: Nomomania grips L.A. and Japan when Hideo Nomo dominates in 1995

Hideo Nomo pulled into the Dodgers’ spring training complex in Vero Beach, Fla., for the first time in March 1995, hopping out of a minivan just long enough to grab the keys to his dormitory room from a team official and drive away.

About 50 Japanese writers, photographers and cameramen who had staked out Nomo for hours chased it from behind.

Nomo and his interpreter drove slowly around a small loop in front of the team’s headquarters with the media horde in tow, creating a scene right out of a Keystone Kops film.

“They drove around in circles, and the media ran after them until they finally just tuckered out,” said Arizona Diamondbacks team President Derrick Hall, a Dodgers assistant media relations director in 1995. “We watched this go on for about 30 minutes and thought, ‘Oh my goodness, the following this guy has.’ ”

Something of interest to ponder in retrospective- granted, as a West Coast resident my perspective might be skewed, but I seem to recall the mania around Hideo Nomo as being greater than any I’ve seen around any player in the last decade, and it strikes me as of interest to consider why.

QLE Posted: March 29, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hideo nomo, history

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   1. Greg K Posted: March 29, 2020 at 07:01 AM (#5934671)
I was 12 at the time, and I remember trying to remodel my pitching motion in the Nomo style. [edit: and I was about as far from California as you can be, and still be in North America]

I think there's always going to be a phenomenon when someone unfamiliar comes into the league and is successful in a new way. A lot of it is probably just fascination with the exotic. But a little bit of it might be the sense that there are more of this guy out there, or that someone has found a new way of doing things that is going to change everything. The excitement of seeing that change happen in real time. Though mysteriously that same effect did not happen with the advent of infield shifting.
   2. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: March 29, 2020 at 09:01 AM (#5934675)
I completely forgot Nomo once pitched for the Tigers (2000). Also, I completely forgot Nomo once pitched for eight different MLB teams...
   3. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 29, 2020 at 11:48 AM (#5934707)
[1] Newfoundland and Labrador?
   4. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 29, 2020 at 12:24 PM (#5934717)
Only the third player to be elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame n his first year of eligibility.
   5. puck Posted: March 29, 2020 at 01:31 PM (#5934732)
First no hitter at Coors field I think. Amazing he basically had only two pitches. The league figured it out a bit but he was still a cromulent starter. I didn't realize he ended up with an ERA+ below 100 but between the rookie season and the last couple years when he apparently had nothing left*, that's 8 seasons with an ERA+ of 104 after a heavy workload in Japan, not bad.

*37 starts across two seasons, plus 3 relief appearances in 2008. He tried to come back with the Royals at age 39 after being out of baseball for two years? I don't remember that.
   6. CFBF's Overflowing Pathos Posted: March 29, 2020 at 02:45 PM (#5934746)
I forgot that he came back to LA and had a couple really nice seasons in 2002 and 2003. And then a...less really nice season in 2004.
   7. puck Posted: March 29, 2020 at 05:49 PM (#5934788)
Article on the context of the 1996 no hitter:

Teams combined to post a 7.06 ERA at Coors Field in 1996, which was not only the highest in the Majors that season, but it remains the highest ERA for any individual ballpark in a single season in Major League history. The second-highest ERA also belongs to Coors Field, set in '99 with a 6.97 mark.

• There were 1,900 hits at Coors Field in 1996, which was nearly 200 more than any other ballpark.

1900 hits sounds like a lot, but it is not the record, which according to that article is held by the Baker Bowl in 1930. 2,034 in 77 games! The ERA was 6.80. Slightly more runs were scored in the 1930 Baker Bowl:

Baker Bowl: 1187 runs in 77 games; 15.42 runs/game.

Coors Field: 1217 runs in 81 games; 15.02 runs/game.
   8. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 29, 2020 at 07:40 PM (#5934811)
This kind of ties in with the other thread about the coolest thing you've ever seen at a ballpark - I was at Nomo's debut, just played hooky with a co-worker; neither of us knew anything about Nomo before we showed up and saw all the camera crews and a zillion Japanese fans.
Nomo was very good that day (7 Ks in 5 IP, no runs, just one hit) but he threw a lot of pitches and was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the top of the 6th, with the game still a shutout.
The game remained a shutout through fourteen innings, and then things went crazy: the Dodgers scored three runs with two out in the top of the 15th, so the Giants waited until they had two out to answer back with four runs in their half, winning on a Matt Williams walk-off double. Scoring
LAD 000 000 000 000 003
SFG 000 000 000 000 004
That was a fun day at Candlestick.
   9. Greg K Posted: March 29, 2020 at 10:41 PM (#5934835)
[1] Newfoundland and Labrador?

Well, ok, if we're counting Newfoundland as a real place, perhaps I was exaggerating.
   10. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: March 30, 2020 at 06:02 PM (#5935082)
Well, this town is technically in North America. (It's about 2,700 miles from the nearest MLB city.)

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