Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.
Hideo Nomo was a sensation in 1995 with the Dodgers. He was the first Japanese pitcher to make a major impact at the Major League level. His pitching windup was kind of funky and lead to a lot of strikeouts. He even pitched a no-hitter, in Colorado of all places. Unfortunately, by the time he came to the Red Sox, he was at a bit of a career crossroads. He had bounced from the Dodgers to the Mets to the Brewers to the Tigers in the previous three years and was not putting up the numbers he put up his first three seasons in LA.
The Red Sox signed Nomo as a free agent to help stabilize the rotation after Pedro Martinez. Nomo would go on to be the team's top starter that year, due mostly to Pedro's injury, but he did have a good year.
Nomo went 13-10 with a 4.50 ERA. He lead the American League in strikeouts with 220 and strikeouts per nine innings with 10.0. He also lead the league in walks with 96. His WAR was 2.9. Nomo also pitched the first Red Sox no-hitter since 1965 (Dave Morehead) against the Baltimore Orioles in his first start of the season. It was certainly a decent year.
I was very disappointed when Boston did not bring Nomo back in 2002. They could have used him, as John Burkett, who was signed to basically replace Nomo, did not have as good of a year as Nomo did for the Dodgers in 2002.