07 March 2011

hideo nomo, double dipper

[this is the eleventh installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, and dave hansen.]

hideo nomo burst on the scene with the dodgers in 1995, and quickly became the king of insert and subset sets, like this 1997 donruss dominators card.
his first two years with the dodgers were unreal.  in 1995, he led the league in strikeouts, had an era of 2.54 and was named the rookie of the year.  the following season, he won 16 games, finished second in the league in strikeouts, had an era of 3.19, threw a no-hitter in coors field and finished 4th in the cy young voting for the second year in a row.  in 1997, however, things started to go awry.  while he still won 14 games and had essentially the same number of strikeouts he had posted in his first two seasons, nomo's era jumped to 4.25 and his whip climbed to 1.38.

in june of 1998, sporting a 2-7 record and an era of over 5.00, the dodgers parted ways with nomo, sending him to the mets. 
nomo finished the '98 season in new york with a 4-5 record and a 4.82 era.  while he was featured on the above 1999 topps card as a met, he was released prior to the start of the '99 season.  he was picked up by the cubs soon after, but was released a mere 3 weeks later after just 3 minor league starts.  the brewers then signed him to a deal and called him up for the season.

nomo's 1999 season in milwaukee resulted in this 2000 topps card
as a brewer, nomo won 12 games, although he didn't necessarily pitch better than he had in the previous season.  for the first time in his career, he had no complete games and he struck out batters at a rate of less than one per inning.  his era was 4.54 and his whip was over 1.40.  after the season ended, the phillies claimed him, but released him the next day.  i don't recall what that was all about.

at any rate, detroit signed him to a deal for the 2000 season, and he wound up making 31 starts in motown that season, including opening day.  he was featured as a tiger on his 2001 topps card: 
that opening day victory (7 ip, 8 k's, 3 er) was one of the few highlights of nomo's season in detroit.  he wound up reversing the 12-8 record he had posted in milwaukee, and his era continued to climb.  the tigers released him after the season, but he was quickly signed to a one-year deal by the red sox.

in the past, i haven't shown all of the teams that a dodger double dipper played for during his hiatus from los angeles, but in nomo's case i am making an exception because it really is strange to see him as a met, brewer and tiger.  i ignored his year in boston, though, because who needs to see more red sox cards? 

after a somewhat successful season in boston (13 wins, 220 strikeouts to lead the league, and a no-hitter), nomo became a free agent and returned to los angeles.  as you can see on his 2005 topps card, nomo wore number 10 in his second stint because paul loduca had taken 16.
nomo's return to the dodgers began well - he won 16 games in both 2002 and 2003, and his era was well below 4 in each of those seasons.  the wheels came off in 2004, however, as he struggled all year.  he finished the season having made 18 starts (he missed all of july and august) and had a record of 4-11 with an era of 8.25.  to no one's surprise, the dodgers released him after the season ended. 

nomo finished his career with stops in tampa and kansas city, although he also spent some time in the yankees and white sox organizations in between. 

in all, the dodgers missed out on 37 wins and 656 strikeouts while nomo was away.  as a dodger, he won 81 games and struck out exactly 1200 batters. this means, that all things being equal, had nomo remained with the dodgers and pitched the same as he did for the mets, brewers, tigers and red sox, he would be 16th all-time in wins (just ahead of bob welch) instead of 27th and 5th (ahead of fernando valenzuela) instead of 11th in strikeouts.

here's to you hideo nomo, double dipper!

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