Hideo Nomo is one of my favorite Dodgers, and the recognition he has just received from Japan just warms me up inside. As you may know, Nomo was on the American Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this past go-around, and he received 6 votes. Although it was clear he wasn't going to make it to Cooperstown, it was nice that some writers chose to cast a vote for him. As one reporter said, "he was a trailblazer".
Now, we learn that the Hall of Fame in Japan has elected him as a first ballot inductee. Congrats, Nomo!
He is one of only three players to be elected in the first year eligibility. Victor Starffin and Sadaharo Oh are the other two players.
Peter O'Malley had this to say today:
“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.”From a press release:
Nomo won 123 games in 12 major league seasons, plus 78 games for Kintetsu in Japan. He pitched for the Dodgers from 1995-1998 and 2002-2004. Nomo’s popularity was historic, as his homeland watched every start on giant screen televisions placed on buildings and on street corners in 13 major cities. No matter when the game started, it was televised live in Japan. Nomo did not disappoint and fan support grew. Dodger Stadium was packed for his starts and he filled National League stadiums when he pitched, creating a phenomenon known as “Nomomania,” as Americans of Japanese descent attended, while tourists from Japan also flocked to watch him.The above photo features Hideo Nomo and Peter O’Malley at the press conference that introduced Nomo at the New Otani Hotel, Los Angeles on February 13, 1995. Photo credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers
He was selected as the starting pitcher for the 1995 All-Star Game in Texas and struck out three in two scoreless innings. After going 13-6 with a 2.54 ERA in 28 starts, Nomo was named 1995 N.L. Rookie of the Year, the fourth consecutive Dodger in a string of five to earn that distinction. He became a role model for school-aged children and the biggest hero imaginable.
Nomo is one of only five pitchers to have thrown a no-hitter in both the American and National Leagues (for the Dodgers at Colorado and for the Red Sox at Baltimore).
When Dodgertown was about to be shuttered for a second time, O’Malley asked Nomo to join him in his efforts to help save this historic Spring Training camp.
Today, Nomo is leading an industrial league team in the Osaka region of Japan, called “Nomo Baseball Club,” which gives non-drafted players (semi-professional) an opportunity to compete.
UPDATE: Here are some quotes from the Dodgers about Nomo's election.
From Tommy Lasorda:
“I am so happy and proud to learn of Hideo Nomo’s election to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, he is truly a Hall of Famer,” said Tommy Lasorda, who managed Nomo during his first two MLB seasons in 1995-96. “When he came to the Dodgers in 1995, I remember taking him under my wing like a son and helping him with the transition. He was quite a pitcher and competitor, but he is also a very special and caring person. The Dodger fans loved him and it became the start of ‘Nomomania’ in Los Angeles and Japan. Hideo, on behalf of the Dodger organization, congratulations on this prestigious honor. We wish you and your wonderful family many happy and healthy years.”From Stan Kasten:
“The Los Angeles Dodgers congratulate Hideo Nomo on his election to the Japanese Hall of Fame,” said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. “‘Nomomania’ was a very special time for Dodger fans in the United States and internationally. He had a great career both in Japan and the United States and that’s quite evident by the overwhelming voter support Hideo received in gaining entrance on the first ballot.”
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