This Day In Dodgers History: Hideo Nomo & Fred McGriff Signed

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a rich history of international signings, which Hideo Nomo is part of as the first Japanese-born player in Major League Baseball.

Nomo was originally signed by the Dodgers on February 13, 1995, thanks to a loophole in the Japanese Uniform Players Contract that allowed him to voluntarily retire and play for whomever he desired after returning to active status.

Nomo had spent the previous five seasons with Nippon Professional Baseball’s Kintetsu Buffaloes before getting into a contract dispute with team management, which led to pursuing a Major League career. Nomo signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers that included a $2 million bonus.

Nomo made his MLB debut on May 2, 1995, and went on to win National League Rookie of the Year honors. He remained with the Dodgers into the 1998 season but along with Brad Clontz, was traded to the New York Mets for Dave Mlicki and Greg McMichael.

This day in Dodgers history saw Nomo return to the franchise as he signed a two-year, $13.75 million contract in free agency on December 20, 2001. After the trade and prior to returning, Nomo pitched for the Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox.

He was fresh off leading the American League with 220 strikeouts during the 2001 season.

Nomo’s second stint with the Dodgers got off to a strong start as he pitched relatively well in back-to-back years before struggling in 2004. Over the three seasons, he went a combined 36-30 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.36 WHIP across 85 starts.

Overall in his Dodgers career, Nomo finished 81-66 with a 3.74 ERA.

Dodgers sign Fred McGriff

Also on this day in Dodgers history, but in 2002, Fred McGriff was signed to a one-year contract to fill the void at first base.

The Dodgers had an opening at the position due to trading Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Todd Hundley and Chad Hermansen weeks earlier.

McGriff spent just the one season with the Dodgers, batting .249/.322/.428 with 14 doubles, 13 home runs and 40 RBI. He played for the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004 before retiring.

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