Jaffe: Hideo Nomo and the Hall of Fame ballot

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at SI.com on December 4, 2013:

It is easy to forget the extent to which Hideo Nomo changed everything. Before his arrival in the United States with the Dodgers for the 1995 season, the idea of a Japanese star coming stateside to test his mettle in the majors was literally a foreign concept. Only one previous Japanese-born player from Nippon Professional Baseball, Masanori Murakami, had pitched in the majors, and that was back in 1964 and ’65. American fans remember the way Nomo took the nation by storm with the Dodgers in 1995 and ’96, baffling hitters with his unorthodox delivery, though he spent the better part of the next decade bouncing around the majors while struggling to overcome his control issues.

Since Nomo’s debut, the floodgates have opened, and while it would be a stretch to say the arrival of Japanese players has become downright routine, the success of so many has helped to globalize the game, raising MLB’s profile overseas. Wrote Japanese baseball expert Robert Whiting, “The history of the Japan-America baseball relationship can be divided into two eras: Pre-Nomo and Post-Nomo.”

I had initially planned to include my writeup of Nomo among the handful of pitchers who are new to this year’s ballot and have no real chance to be elected. Even if his statistics from Japan could be taken into consideration, he doesn’t have numbers that merit induction in Cooperstown, which is after all the National — not International — Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. In the end, he stands as a pioneer of sorts, so I decided to give his career a closer look and a more detailed valedictory.

Read the full article here: http://mlb.si.com/2013/12/03/jaws-hall-of-fame-hideo-nomo/

Originally published: December 4, 2013. Last Updated: December 4, 2013.