With the Los Angeles Dodgers in pursuit of one Japanese right-hander, a former Japanese right-hander was rewarded for his accomplishments. Before Masahiro Tanaka, there was Hideo Nomo and his tornado-style windup that won the 1995 National League Rookie of the Year for the Dodgers.
According to Kaz Nagatsuka of The Japan Times, the former Dodger pitcher will be receiving a grand honor in his home country:
The former starting pitcher in both Japan and the major leagues was selected by the Players Selection Committee, along with former closer Kazuhiro Sasaki and ex-slugger Koji Akiyama, the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum announced on Friday.
Nomo was recently eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the first year but earned just six total votes for 1.1% and fell short of the 5% needed to remain on the ballot. The 45-year-old became the youngest player inducted into the HOF and just the third player overall to be chosen on the first ballot. He received 324 total votes, or 82.4% of votes, to gain his entry.
Having spent just five seasons in Japan before making his way to MLB, Nomo was seen as the pioneer for Japanese players to make the transition to the United States. He wasn’t the first Japanese player to play in the majors, that title belonged to Masanori Murakami, but his success made it possible for other Japanese players to leave Japan.
With the Dodgers, Nomo spent three-and-a-half seasons with the organization before being traded to the New York Mets but would later rejoin the team for three more seasons in the early 2000’s. His overall record with the Dodgers was 81-66 to go along with a 3.74 ERA in 191 total starts. Nomo also played for the Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Kansas City Royals. Overall, he finished his major-league career at 123-109 with a 4.24 ERA in 1,976.1 innings.
Here’s a statement from former Dodgers owner and current Dodgertown CEO Peter O’Malley, who signed Nomo out of Japan:
Congratulations, Hideo, I am very happy for you. You deserve this extraordinary recognition by the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ever since we first met in 1995, I have admired your professionalism and courage facing baseball’s finest hitters. Everyone in the Dodger organization respected you. You are a pioneer and have opened the door for others to follow you in Major League Baseball, well done.