Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo played a vital role in the advancement of Japanese players coming to play in the Major Leagues and has been elected into Japan’s Baseball Hall of Fame. The 45 year old becomes the youngest player to be inducted in that Hall’s history, according to a report by the Japan Times as passed along by AJ Cassavell of MLB.com.
Nomo spent seven years pitching in Japan before joining the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 1995 season. He’d go 13-6 with a 2.54 ERA and 1.056 WHIP that season, leading the National League with 236 strikeouts over 191.1 IP. Nomo was a resounding choice for the Rookie of the Year award and finished 4th in Cy Young voting that season. He’d pitch 11 more seasons in the Major Leagues, including spending the 2001 season in Boston.
It didn’t take long for Nomo to make an impact with the Red Sox that season. His first start, the team’s second game of the year, came April 4th at Baltimore. Nomo threw 110 pitches that day, striking out 11 and walking 3 en route to the third no-hitter of his career. Nomo made 33 starts for the Red Sox that year, posting a 13-10 mark and 4.50 ERA over 198.0 IP. His 96 walks, 220 strikeouts, and 10.0 K/9 all lead the American League.
Nomo received just one vote earlier this month in his first (and only) appearance on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot. He’ll be joined in Japan’s Hall by Kazuhiro Sasaki (who saved 129 games with a 3.14 ERA over four seasons with the Seattle Mariners), outfielder Koji Akiyama, and former manager Choichi Aida.