Hideo Nomo was one of the first Japanese players to enjoy sustained success in the major leagues, winning the 1995 NL Rookie of the Year Award and pitching 12 major league seasons as a member of seven teams. For a brief period of time in the middle of his career, though, it looked like he might be done. Nomo struggled with the Dodgers in 1998 and was traded to the Mets, who released him during spring training in 1999. The Cubs signed him a few days later, but released him again without using him in a big league game.
When the Brewers signed Nomo to a minor league deal on this day in 1999, they were his third organization in slightly more than a month. Their gamble was rewarded, however, as Nomo was back in the big leagues and pitching well less than two full weeks following the signing.
Nomo made five starts in May that season for the Brewers and pitched very well, posting a 2.41 ERA and working six or more innings in five straight appearances. All told he appeared in 28 games in his lone season in Milwaukee, accumulating 12 wins with a 4.54 ERA and striking out 161 batters in 176.1 innings.
With his career resuscitated, Nomo left Milwaukee for Detroit before the 2000 season. He went on to pitch seven more years in the majors.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- 2003 Brewer John Vander Wal, who turns 46.
- 1976-86 Brewer Bob McClure, who turns 60.
- Beloit College alum Amby McConnell, who would have turned 129. McConnell played four major league seasons between 1908-11 as a member of the Red Sox and White Sox.
Today is also the eleventh anniversary of Geoff Jenkins' two home run game against the Expos, finishing off a streak where he hit five homers in two days. We covered that event in this space last year.