This Day In Sports History (December 19th) — Wayne Gretzky
This Day In Sports History (December 20th) — Hideo Nomo
It was on this day in 2001 that starting pitcher Hideo Nomo signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The signing meant a return to the organization where Nomo’s Major League career began nearly seven years earlier.
Hideo Nomo’s Major League career got off to a great start, as he had a very solid rookie season. He pitched so well in the first half of the season that he was chosen to start for the National League at the All-Star Game. In addition to being named an All-Star, Nomo was also named National League Rookie of the Year, although many people felt that he was not a true rookie due to his many years of playing professionally in Japan.
Nomo’s second tour of duty with the Dodgers was almost as successful as his first two seasons, as he pitched very well. However, after the 2003 season, Hideo had shoulder surgery and was never the same pitcher. Nomo enjoyed a very successful Major League career and many credit him with paving the way for all Japanese players to come to North America.
Aubrey Huff, MLB – Born December 20th 1976 (age 37) in Marion, Ohio
James Shields, MLB – Born December 20th 1981 (age 32) in Newhall, California
David Wright, MLB – Born December 20th 1982 (age 31) in Norfolk, Virginia