On May 2, 1995, Hideo Nomo made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers and became the first Japanese-born player in Major League Baseball.
Nomo threw five scoreless innings against the San Francisco Giants, allowing just one hit, issuing four walks and striking out seven. The right-hander didn’t factor into the decision of a game the Dodgers won, 4-3, in 15 innings.
Nomo retired the first two batters faced but followed that by walking the bases loaded. He escaped the jam by striking out Royce Clayton.
Nomo promptly earned the nickname ‘The Tornado’ because of his high leg-kick and twisting windup. Nomo’s career got off to a bit of a rough start as he went 0-1 through his first six outings.
But he proceeded to go 6-0 with a 0.89 ERA in the next six starts, throwing at least eight innings in each game during that span.
Nomo finished the 1995 season with a 13-6 record, 2.54 ERA, 149 ERA+ and 1.06 WHIP, was named an All-Star and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Nomo led the Dodgers with three shutouts and was the first Japanese player to earn a selection to the MLB All-Star Game.
The Dodgers traded Nomo to the New York Mets during the 1998 season, though he returned in 2002 for a second stint with the organization that signed him out of Japan. Over seven seasons with the Dodgers, Nomo went 81-66 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.
In addition to the Dodgers and Mets, Nomo spent time with the Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals. He currently resides as a pitching advisor for the San Diego Padres.
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