HIDEO NOMO Biography - Famous Sports men and women


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Name: Hideo Nomo                                                                         
Born: 31 August 1968                                                                     
Hideo Nomo (born August 31, 1968 in Minato-ku, Osaka) is a                               
right-handed pitcher who has achieved success both in Japan and the United               
States. In 2007, he played in the Venezuelan Winter League with the team Leones           
del Caracas. He is currently signed to a minor league contract with the Kansas           
City Royals.                                                                             
Nomo was on the silver medal winning Japanese baseball team at the 1988 Olympics,         
and the Kintetsu Buffaloes drafted him in 1989. Nomo debuted with them in 1990           
and was an immediate success, going 18–8 but more impressively striking out 287         
hitters in just 235 innings. The strikeout numbers are attributed to his                 
unorthodox wind-up, where he turns his back to the hitter, raises his pivot leg,         
and freezes for a second before throwing. The windup gave him the nickname "Tornado".     
In his first four seasons, Nomo was as consistent, and consistently good, as any         
pitcher in Japanese baseball, winning 17 or 18 games each year. His fifth season         
in 1994 was marred by a shoulder injury and only netted him eight wins. Nomo was         
famous for his forkball which was unpredictable for hitters and catchers alike.           
Nomo had become one of the most popular baseball players in Japan but after the           
1994 season Nomo got into a contract dispute with team management. The Buffaloes         
rebuffed Nomo's demands to have a contract agent and multi-year contract.                 
Instead of working things out with the Buffaloes, Nomo and his agent, Don Nomura,         
"exploited a loophole in the agreement between Japanese baseball and the major           
leagues: if a player retired, he was free to play for whomever he wished." This           
led to him heading to the U.S., where in February of 1995, the Los Angeles               
Dodgers signed him. Nomo's parents begged for him to come home, and Nomo was             
soon disowned by his family for "disgracing" them.                                       
Hideo Nomo made his U.S. pro baseball debut with the Bakersfield Blaze on April           
27, 1995 against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Placed on a 90-pitch limit, and             
throwing mainly fastballs, Nomo pitched 5⅓ innings, taking the 2–1 loss against       
the Quakes. Despite this loss, and after a month in the minors, necessitated by           
a season shortened by a player's strike, he became the first Japanese-born               
Japanese Leaguer since Masanori Murakami in 1965, to appear in a major league             
game on May 2. The pressure on him would be tremendous, and Japanese media and           
fans appeared in large numbers in games he started. Nomo's games were regularly           
broadcast live to Japan, despite the fact most people would be waking up when he         
started games. Nomo more than lived up to their expectations.                             
The tornado delivery that baffled batters in Japan had the same effect on major           
league hitters, and he led the league in strikeouts (while finishing second in           
walks) and was second with a 2.54 ERA. He also started that year's All-Star Game,         
striking out three of the six batters he faced. But he only barely won NL Rookie         
of the Year honors that year over future MVP Chipper Jones, as most voters felt           
that his Japanese success made him anything but a rookie, although by major               
league rules he was one. Nomo only dropped slightly in 1996 as he had another             
fine season, which was capped by a no-hitter thrown on September 17 in the               
unlikeliest of places, Denver's Coors Field, a park which was notoriously known           
as being a hitters' park because of its high elevation, semi-arid climate, and           
lack of foul territory. Nomo remains the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter at             
Coors Field.                                                                             
Nomo also found commercial success in America. Nomo had a signature sneaker,             
called the Air Max Nomo, produced by Nike in 1996. Also, he appeared on a Segata         
Sanshiro commercial for the Sega Saturn in 1997.                                         
As batters caught on to his delivery, his effectiveness waned somewhat in 1997,           
although he still went 14–12, and then crashed down on him in 1998 when he             
started the year 2–7 and earned a trade to the New York Mets, where he was not         
much better and got released. He signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1999 and made           
three starts for their AAA minor league team before refusing further starts in           
the minor leagues, and got a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, where he went           
12–8 with a 4.54 ERA. He reached the 1,000 strikeout mark in 1999, the third           
fastest to reach that mark in major league history. The Brewers waived him after         
contract issues and the Philadelphia Phillies claimed him, then granted him free         
agency only 24 hours later after more contract issues. Finally signed by the             
Detroit Tigers in 2000, he went 8–12 with a 4.74 ERA and was released again.           
Nomo signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2001 and had a decent season again, but           
it started off with a bang, as he threw his second no-hitter in his Sox debut,           
on April 4, against the Baltimore Orioles, walking three and striking out 11 in           
the first no-hitter in the 10-year history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and           
becoming just the fourth player in baseball history to have thrown a no-hitter           
in both leagues (joining Cy Young, Jim Bunning and Nolan Ryan). It also was the           
first no-hitter by a Red Sox pitcher since Dave Morehead in 1965, and is also             
the earliest, calendar-wise, that a Major League Baseball no-hitter has been             
pitched. Nomo also led the league in strikeouts for the first time since his             
first American campaign. A free agent after the end of the year, Nomo returned           
to where it all began with the Dodgers in 2002, and ended up having his best             
season since 1996, when he finished with a 16–6, 193 K, and 3.39 ERA, finally           
regaining the form he brought from Japan. The following year he had another fine         
season, where he went 16–13, 177 K, and a low 3.09 ERA. During September 2003,         
he began showing signs of injury and fatigue.