Twenty-seven years have passed since the Dodgers officially announced their contract with Hideo Nomo (February 13, 1995). After Masanori Murakami, who played for the Giants in 1965, Japanese players haven’t played on the major stage for 29 years, but since 1995, when Nomo became the National League Rookie of the Year, more than 60 people have been playing. Japanese player followed Nomo. “It’s hard to imagine a major league without Japanese players now,” said Andrew Simon, a reporter on the official Major League Baseball website, and introduced the achievements of pioneer Hideo Nomo.
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Nomo, who played an active role as the ace of Kintetsu Buffaloes, had a strong desire to challenge the major leagues by experiencing the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 1990 ALL STAR SERIES. Also, during the 1990 ALL STAR SERIES, Randy Johnson (then Mariners), who had just won the All-Star Game for the first time this year, said, “Playing in Japan is a waste of time. You should be in the majors. Was called out.
At that time, there was no posting system, and it was necessary to use a “loophole” for major challenges. The project, which involved agents Don Nomura and Arn Tellem, as well as Jean Afterman (currently Yankees GM assistant), is not only a good player, but also afraid of being against public opinion and being criticized by the public. I needed a person who wasn’t there. It was Nomo who challenged there.
Fred Claire, then Dodgers GM, said in 2020, “It was clear that Hideo wanted the challenge. He didn’t hesitate to jeopardize his reputation and achievements in Japan. Whether to succeed. I don’t know, but I believed in myself and bet everything. That’s why Hideo is a true pioneer. He was confident in his abilities and fearless. ”
Nomo et al. Requested a high-priced 6-year contract from Kintetsu and withdrew “voluntary retirement” from Kintetsu as intended. Nomura is said to have received a death threat, saying, “It is an act of destroying the Japanese ball world.” In addition, Nomo was hit by the Japanese media, and it seems that there was a time when he did not speak with his father for a while. Nomura recalls, “I lost a lot of friends. It was the same with Hideo.”
After that, Nomo will cause a “tornado whirlwind” in the majors. Although he is a rookie, he stood on the starting mound of the All-Star Game and was also the new king of the National League. He helped the majors regain their popularity after the strike and became so popular in Japan and the United States that the word “NOMO mania” was coined. If Nomo hadn’t challenged the “loophole”, and if Nomo hadn’t created a “tornado whirlwind,” the flow of major Japanese players’ challenges to date might not have been born.
Kenta Maeda (Twins) said in 2018, “(Nomo) definitely paved the way for Japanese players to challenge the majors. In that sense, it has had a great influence on everyone including me. I think. ” “If the National Baseball Hall of Fame opens a department for pioneers who have had a major impact on history, Nomo will definitely be chosen,” Simon said.