The Dodgers have gotten back to their international scouting ways in the past few seasons, but before then, they were still setting the bar high in finding talent.
After Hideo Nomo became a sensation in LA, the Dodgers signed another Japanese pitcher by the name of Kazuhisa Ishii in 2002 as they beat out the Rangers, Angels and Mets by paying the $11.5 posting fee.
Ishii hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2005 and according to the Japanese Times, he’s set to retire from baseball:
I’ve been thinking that the time has come, said Ishii. I still want to win and feel like I can still play, but I have become tired of the preparations required to do this, he said.
Now 40-years-old, Ishii’s career spanned 21 seasons as he racked up 182 wins between pitching in Japan and with the Dodgers and Mets in the big leagues. During his Dodger career, Ishii was 36-25 with a 4.30 ERA and was traded to the Mets in 2005 for catcher Jason Phillips.
Ishii also had a scary moment with the Dodgers as he was struck by a line drive against the Houston Astros, which gave him a serious concussion during his rookie season.
His success allowed the Dodgers to then sign Hiroki Kuroda and Hyun-Jin Ryu as other pitchers from Asia want to live the dream of pitching in the big leagues. A fan favorite during his tenure with the Dodgers, Ishii was fun to watch and it’s nice to hear he’s had a successful career after his stint in the big leagues.
Here’s the video of Ishii getting hit in the head back in 2002: