Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Hideo Nomo (Page 1 of 2)

The Hall of Fame, the Dodgers and the Harold Baines effect

So now Fernando Valenzuela has to get in. So now Gil Hodges has to get in. So now Orel Hershiser has to get in. So now Steve Garvey has to get in. So now …

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Who pitched the Dodgers’ top games each year in the 2000s? Some names will surprise you

Clayton Kershaw is by far the most dominant pitcher for the Dodgers — if not all of Major League Baseball — in the 21st century. Not surprisingly, he has pitched the game of the year for the Dodgers more times than anyone else.

But using the tried and true Game Score formula as a barometer, Kershaw has topped the charts in only four of his 11 big-league seasons. During the Kershaw era, some unexpected names have stolen the spotlight from Kershaw, if only for a moment.

In fact, in the 13 seasons from 2001 through 2013, 13 different pitchers had the top Game Score for the Dodgers.

Here’s a year-by-year rundown of the Dodgers’ best Game Score performances each year, dating back to 2000.

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Six: The International Rotation

Our journey through Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!) takes us to what I suppose serves as the beginning of dark days for the modern Dodger fan — the 1990s, when the team didn’t win a single playoff game.

Nevertheless, it was still a key period in the history of Dodger pitching, as I note in the introduction to “Part Six: The International Rotation.”

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#VinTop20: No. 14, Nomo’s No-No


Between now and Vin Scully Appreciation Day on September 23, the Dodgers are revealing the results of the fan vote ranking Scully’s top 20 Dodger calls of all time, one at each home game. Here’s No. 14: Hideo Nomo’s Coors Field no-hitter.

— Jon Weisman

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No. 15, the 4+1 Game
No. 16, Don Drysdale’s streak stays alive
No. 17, Mike Piazza, Giant-slayer
No. 18, Yasiel Puig’s first slam
No. 19, Manny’s Bobbleslam
No. 20, Mark McGwire hits it way, way out

Maeda faces Marlins, Ichiro, Fernandez, history

Kenta Maeda meets Ichiro on Monday. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Kenta Maeda meets Ichiro on Monday. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Marlins at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Yasiel Puig, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Howie Kendrick, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

Kenta Maeda brings his 0.36 ERA to his fifth start of his MLB career, and he’ll face Miami ace Jose Fernandez on the mound and childhood hero Ichiro Susuki in the lineup.

Among pitchers with at least 30 innings before April 30, Fernando Valenzuela holds the top two spots for lowest ERA: 0.20 in 1981 and 0.21 in 1982. The lowest that Maeda’s ERA could get tonight would be 0.26 if he throws a shutout, which would put him fifth all-time in March/April behind Walter Johnson (0.24 in 1913) and Ray Sadecki (0.25 in 1968).

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Maeda, Stripling to join rare group of 26-and-older starting pitchers to debut with Dodgers

Nomo Ishii

Hideo Nomo and Kaz Ishii each pitched shutout ball in their Dodger debuts.

Dodgers at Padres, 6:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

Kenta Maeda, who turns 28 on Monday, tonight will be the 18th Dodger starting pitcher in the past 100 years to make his Major League debut at age 26 or above.

And 48 hours later, barring anything unforeseen, 26-year-old Ross Stripling will become the 19th in that group on Friday.

That list includes such Asian pitchers as Hyun-Jin Ryu, Hiroki Kuroda, Kazuhisa Ishii and Hideo Nomo, who combined to pitch 24 innings and allow only two runs while striking out 26.

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Dave Roberts and the Dodgers’ lost 2002 season

roberts & dreifort

By Jon Weisman

Dave Roberts made his Los Angeles debut with the 2002 Dodgers, a mostly forgotten squad whom a couple of weeks ago I called the best third-place team in Dodger history.

Those Dodgers won 92 games but finished behind Arizona and San Francisco in the National League West. Under the current playoff format, they would have made the NL wild-card game against the Giants, who ended up in the World Series against the Angels.

Instead, the ’02 Dodgers missed the postseason entirely, so their record as a team has largely been ignored. But in addition to the arrival of Roberts, there were these individual memories:

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Joc Pederson officially named NL All-Star starter

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Florida Marlns

As I sensed a couple of weeks ago, the winds of change (and injury) have pushed Joc Pederson into the National League All-Star starting lineup, replacing the injured Matt Holliday.

The 23-year-old Pederson is the Dodgers’ first rookie All-Star starter since Hideo Nomo in 1995 and, as Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. notes, the franchise’s first rookie position player to start the All-Star game ever.

Pederson earned his spot in the starting lineup through his vote count from the NL Player Ballot. He will probably start in left field, with Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen in center field and Washington’s Bryce Harper in right.

— Jon Weisman

Hideo Nomo remembers first day in Dodger uniform, 20 years ago

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By Jon Weisman

Today is the 20th anniversary of Hideo Nomo’s first day in a Dodger uniform: March 3, at Dodgertown in Vero Beach.

Four months later, Nomo was throwing two scoreless innings in the National League All-Star Game (video above). In a press release from the good folks at Historic Dodgertown, Nomo shared his memories of how his Dodger life began, after signing as a free agent with the Dodgers on February 13, 1995.

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In case you missed it: Farewell, Stan Chambers

By Jon Weisman

The only broadcaster with a longer tenure in Los Angeles than Vin Scully was Stan Chambers. Chambers, who joined KTLA in December 1947, mere weeks after the station opened, was a direct connection to the origins of television in this city.

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The Dodgers’ biggest December deals of the 2000s

Magic Johnson welcomes Zack Greinke to the Dodgers on December 11, 2012. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Magic Johnson welcomes Zack Greinke to the Dodgers in December 2012. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Numerous Dodger fans are on the edge of their seats waiting for the team’s next big move. That might or might not come in December, a month that has brought huge transactions in some years but relative tranquility in others. Here’s a look at the biggest Dodger transactions of December that have taken place in the 21st century:

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At the scene of the shine: Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter in Colorado, 18 years ago today

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Today, the Dodgers are in Colorado, where they can celebrate the 18th anniversary of what for 17 1/2 years was the most recent no-hitter in Dodger history — and to this day, given the site and the gloomy weather, was perhaps the least likely.

— Jon Weisman


March 10 pregame: Autograph much?

San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers

A’s vs. Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Andre Ethier, CF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Tim Federowicz, C
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

Welcome to the final week of Cactus League play for the Dodgers.

  • Scheduled to follow Hyun-Jun Ryu on the mound today are Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, J.P. Howell and Brandon League.
  • An interesting, color-coded chart on Dodger fielding (using Inside Edge data from Fangraphs) is provided by Cody Stump at Feelin’ Kinda Blue.
  • Here’s Frank Howard, 1961 Union Oil booklet style, at Blue Heaven. Again, these are great primary source documents on figures from our Dodger past.
  • Dancing Tommy Lasorda.
  • Sunday in Jon SooHoo.
  • SONY DSCHere is newly elected Japanese Hall of Fame pitcher Hideo Nomo visiting Vero Beach’s Historic Dodgertown, where he is now a partner with Peter O’Malley, Terry O’Malley Seidler and Chan Ho Park.

    “I wish for this to be a place where people can come back to see both what it was and also what it is now,” Nomo said. “To preserve the history of a place that was home to Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax is special, and I hope kids can feel the nostalgia while also creating new memories for themselves.”

Dodgers pay tribute to Hideo Nomo

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By Jon Weisman

My never-ending, fruitless quest to get people to say “Nomonia” instead of “Nomomania” aside, here’s a nice video tribute from the Dodgers to the newly crowned Japanese Baseball Hall of Famer, Hideo Nomo.

It’s a tremendous honor, and I was so happy to see it. Even though I rationalized why Nomo was almost completely shut out in the recent Cooperstown balloting, a big part of me felt his importance to the game was being understated. But this new recognition feels wonderfully appropriate and fulfilling.

I can still remember the joyful surprise of that first Nomo season. Before it began, you weren’t sure he would be able to stay in the big leagues at all, and then suddenly, he was racking up strikeouts on a pace with the greatest in baseball history.

I can also remember the tough times, when his arm was failing him and the struggles began, and then his resiliency as he battled back, before finally giving way for good. His ERAs and adjusted ERA as a Dodger:

2.54, 149 (1995)
3.19, 122 (1996)
4.25, 91 (1997)
5.05, 80 (1998)
3.39, 112 (2002)
3.09, 131 (2003)
8.25, 50 (2004)

Pitching is a crazy game.

Below, some statements from the Dodger family, present and past.

“The Los Angeles Dodgers congratulate Hideo Nomo on his election to the Japanese Hall of Fame,” said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. “‘Nomomania’ was a very special time for Dodger fans in the United States and internationally. He had a great career both in Japan and the United States, and that’s quite evident by the overwhelming voter support Hideo received in gaining entrance on the first ballot.”

“I am so happy and proud to learn of Hideo Nomo’s election to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame — he is truly a Hall of Famer,” added Tommy Lasorda, who managed Nomo during his first two MLB seasons in 1995-96. “When he came to the Dodgers in 1995, I remember taking him under my wing like a son and helping him with the transition. He was quite a pitcher and competitor, but he is also a very special and caring person. The Dodger fans loved him and it became the start of ‘Nomomania’ in Los Angeles and Japan. Hideo, on behalf of the Dodger organization, congratulations on this prestigious honor. We wish you and your wonderful family many happy and healthy years.”

Former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley sent this message to Nomo: “Congratulations, Hideo, I am very happy for you. You deserve this extraordinary recognition by the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ever since we first met in 1995, I have admired your professionalism and courage facing baseball’s finest hitters. Everyone in the Dodger organization respected you. You are a pioneer and have opened the door for others to follow you in Major League Baseball. Well done.”

Postscript: For those who have forgotten, the unusual boxscore of Nomo’s MLB debut.

In case you missed it: Hideo Nomo is a Hall of Famer

Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

We’ll start the day with some happy tidings …

  • Hideo Nomo became the youngest ever to be elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. A.J. Cassavell of has more. Nomo is the third first-ballot inductee in the Japan Hall’s history.
  • Congrats to Mike Petriello, Chad Moriyama, Dustin Nosler and Daniel Brim on their impending launch — coming on Monday — of Dodgers Digest. Details here from Petriello and from Nosler.
  • Former Dodger pitcher Brad Penny has signed a minor-league contract with Kansas City, says Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish — and was later joined by another former Dodger, Guillermo Mota. Penny. who only turns 35 in May, last pitched in the majors in 2012, throwing 28 innings with a 6.11 ERA.
  • Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation looks at the history of showing and not showing close calls on scoreboards, and wonders if the new policy announced by MLB on Thursday will last.
  • There’s never a bad time to offer praise for “Hoop Dreams,” whose 20th anniversary Will Leitch celebrates at Sports on Earth.

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