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Baseball with Matt: Hideo Nomo Edition

Hey baseball fans!

Did you know that MLB stars like Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki first started playing professional baseball in Japan? However, they may have never came over to the United States if not for 1995 NL Rookie of the Year and MLB star pitcher, Hideo Nomo.

Hideo Nomo Pitching (Courtesy of baseball.about.com)

Nomo first got started with professional baseball in the 1980s. In 1988, he helped Japan win a silver medal in the Summer Olympics and then helped Japan win gold in the Asian Baseball Championship in 1989. He officially became part of Nippon Professional Baseball when he made his debut with the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1990 and played there until 1994. In his Japanese baseball career, Nomo won 78 games with an astounding amount of strikeouts: 1,204. Prior to the 1995 MLB season, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Nomo. He didn’t know it yet, but Hideo Nomo would become the first Japanese ballplayer to make a permanent transition to the MLB, something that influenced the careers of many Japanese players all across Japan.

Hideo had a successful career in the Majors from 1995-2008 with the Dodgers, Royals, Rays, Mets, Red Sox, Tigers, and Brewers. Like I mentioned before, Nomo won the 1995 NL Rookie of the Year Award, going 13-6 with a league-leading 236 strikeouts, along with a 2.54 ERA, second in the National League. He also led the league in shutouts that year with three. 1995 was also the only year that Nomo made the All Star Game. He actually was the starting pitcher in the game in Texas and struck out three out of the six batters he faced, including the eventual 1995 home run champion, Albert Belle. The NL won the game 3-2.

In his career, Hideo went 123-109 with a 4.24 ERA and 1,918 strikeouts. In 1996, he pitched a no-hitter with the Dodgers at the Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field. He then pitched another no-hitter, this time with the Red Sox in 2001, at Camden Yards against the Orioles. He is one of five pitchers in Major League history to pitch no-hitters on American and National League teams.

Overall, Hideo Nomo’s career is very respectable and his Major League success inspired many other Japanese ballplayers to come over to the States to play ball as well. So, thanks, Hideo Nomo. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

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