Monday, September 19, 2011

Hideo Nomo's No-No (15 Years Ago)

I'm still on a high from my birthday celebrations this past weekend so I'd figure I'd reflect on my favorite Dodgers memory that happened around that time.

15 years ago on my birthday (9/17), one of the best moments of my baseball life happened. My favorite pitcher at the time, Hideo Nomo, stepped into Coors Field and pitched a no-hitter, one of the greatest performances in recent baseball history.

You might think I'm crazy but consider this. Coors Field was nicknamed Coors Canaveral because balls were flying out of there like they were rockets at Cape Canaveral. It wasn't surprising to see both teams combine for 14-16 runs on average.

Also those mid-90's Rockies teams had a great lineup. Eric Young leading off. Dante Bichette, Ellis Burks, Vinny Castilla and Andres Galarraga all hit 30+ home runs and 110+ RBI's. And of course, the great Larry Walker who had a monster bat but was injured often in 1996.

Not only did Nomo no-hit probably one of baseball's toughest lineups, he did it in the most hitter-friendly park in baseball. I stand by my statement that it may not be the most dominating performance of recent years (Kerry Wood's 20 K's; Pedro's 1-hit, 17K gem; Doc Halladay's playoff no hitter are high on that list)  but it's one of the most incredible performances given the situation and the lineup.

I regret missing it because I was probably busy doing HW or enjoying my presents. But I remember reading the paper that day and being amazed that Nomo, of all people, had threw it. It was the best birthday present I could've gotten from sports. Even better is that Nomo later threw a no-hitter for Boston in 2001.

Folks might forget but Nomo's debut season in 1995 was a big deal. He had his own shoe, his jersey became a hot seller (later immortalized in Lil Kim's Crush on You) and he was a big a phenomenon in L.A. almost as Fernandomania with his Tornado delivery and crossover style. It was amazing and I'll never forget every outing being highly anticipated - something I'm only seeing now with Young Prince Clayton Kershaw.

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