Twenty years ago today, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed a young Japanese-born pitcher named Hideo Nomo. After pitching for five years in Japan, Nomo signed with the Dodgers and took the league by storm.
Not only did he pitch well, but he did so with a windup that no one in baseball had ever seen, which earned him the nickname “The Tornado.” Although Nomo did not earn a decision in his first six starts, the young right-hander earned his first victory on June 14 when the Dodgers faced the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In the start, Nomo allow three runs — two of which were earned — on eight hits. The story however was the 16 strikeouts he accumulated; setting a Dodgers’ rookie record. He concluded the 1995 season with a 13-6 record, a 2.54 ERA and 236 strikeouts, which led to him being named the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Although his stellar year was over, Nomo was not done making with the Dodgers just yet. On Sept. 17, 1996, he threw the 20th no-hitter in franchise history with the impressive outing coming at Coors Field no less.
Nomo spent six of his 11 years in the MLB with the Dodgers and ended his career with a record of 123-109 and a 4.24 ERA. Due to his success in the MLB, Nomo was elected into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame as he’s credited for paving the way for Japanese players.
Although Nomo was not the first Japanese player in the MLB, his success made it possible for other players in the Japanese leagues to make a successful transition to the Majors.