The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball
“This isn’t because I wanted to play in the Majors at all costs. It’s just that I feel I can’t play for that manager (Keishi Suzuki), that’s all”
–Hideo Nomo, speaking about his decision to pursue an MLB career (source)
Nomo’s retirement and Suzuki’s insanity pre-dates my following of Japanese baseball, but I have read a little bit about Nomo and Suzuki. Suzuki’s treatment of Nomo was particularly grueling, including 191-pitch and 180-pitch starts, and comments like “to cure your pain, throw more.”
Nomo is rightfully credited as the player that opened the door for Japanese and Asian players in Major League Baseball. But he might not have done it Keishi Suzuki had been, you know, sane.