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Monday, July 26, 2021

Hideo Nomo Paved The Way For A Generation Of Damn Good Japanese Ballplayers

According to JAWS, Nomo barely ranks among the top 500 starting pitchers in MLB history, and Hall of Fame voters signaled their agreement when they let him drop off the ballot after just one appearance, with only 1.1 percent of ballots carrying his name. But that sells short the enormous impact Nomo has had on baseball, which continues to this day. Not only was he one of the game’s most electrifying and imitated pitchers during his heyday, but he opened the door for other Japanese players to arrive in the U.S. and play for MLB teams. The modern posting system — which has been the pathway to America for Japanese stars such as Ichiro Suzuki, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka and, yes, the great Shohei Ohtani — was instituted in large part as a reaction to Nomo finding that loophole back in 1995.

As Dave Wallace, Nomo’s pitching coach with the Dodgers, put it: “He was the first one. He had everything to lose and nothing to gain. He set the table for a lot of other guys, who are now reaping the benefits.”

And while Murakami was Japan’s first MLB player,2 Nomo was its first MLB superstar. Nomomania was real, and it captured baseball fans’ attention in the summer of 1995 every bit as much as Ohtani’s exploits have enthralled us this year. So now, 26 years later, with all eyes in the sports world on Nomo’s home country, it’s time to remember just how damn good Nomo was as both a player and a baseball icon.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 26, 2021 at 02:03 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hideo nomo, japanese free agents

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: July 26, 2021 at 04:09 PM (#6030501)
I was at the 1995 All-Star Game in Arlington and had the pleasure to be sitting directly in front of an entire row of Japanese fans who all had various signs, drums, and other noisemakers to cheer on Nomo. They were great fun while they lasted. When Nomo's 2 innings were up and he was removed from the game, they gathered all their stuff and left.
   2. toratoratora Posted: July 26, 2021 at 05:48 PM (#6030552)
He threw the only no hitter I've seen live against the O's.
   3. AndrewJ Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:07 PM (#6030605)
I saw Nomo in August '95 at the Vet. Many Japanese fans in the stands with their Instamatics clicking during his deliveries. The Phils actually knocked him out of the box early, though.
   4. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:47 PM (#6030616)
"Welcome to a very special installment of our Hall of Pretty Damn Good Players, a series in which we recognize the athletes who won’t make their sports’ Hall of Fame but still deserve accolades for their talent and influence...

According to JAWS, Nomo barely ranks among the top 500 starting pitchers in MLB history, and Hall of Fame voters signaled their agreement when they let him drop off the ballot after just one appearance..."


Hideo Nomo made the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2014, only the third player ever to be elected on the first ballot (Sadaharu Oh and Victor Starffin at that time were the only other two). Even if it's not the American Baseball Hall of Fame, you'd think the article would have mentioned that.
   5. Hombre Brotani Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:59 PM (#6030619)
Nomo's no-hitter against the Rockies at Coors was such a pleasure to watch, with Vin Scully providing wonderful narration. The entire game is on YouTube for your pleasure.
   6. homerwannabee Posted: July 27, 2021 at 07:13 AM (#6030664)
If Ohtani was born 40 years earlier I'd like to think that Ohtani is such a freak of nature that he still makes the majors.
I don't think he'd be a two way player at first, but people in America would be interested in a 6 ft 4 guy who throws as fast as Nolan Ryan and hits 450 ft home runs on the regular.

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