Friday, July 18, 2014

Nomo, Park Honored Today

From a BZAPR release:


Two former Los Angeles Dodger All-Star pitchers will be honored on Friday, July 18.

Hideo Nomo will be inducted into the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame. Ceremonies will be held on the field to honor the 2014 inductees prior to the Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Game at Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa (near Tokyo), Japan. Chan Ho Park will receive recognition during retirement ceremonies prior to the Korean Professional Baseball All-Star Game at Champions Field, Kwangju, South Korea.

Nomo became the youngest player elected to the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame at age 45 and 4 months on January 17, 2014. He is only the third player in history elected to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Victor Starffin, a Russian who pitched and won 303 games in Japan and Tokyo Giants’ superstar Sadaharu Oh, the all-time leader in home runs with 868, were the others elected to the Hall in their first year of eligibility.

Peter O’Malley, president of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1970-1998, will participate in the induction ceremonies in support of his friend Nomo. O’Malley is chairman of Historic Dodgertown. In 2012, Nomo and Park became founding partners of Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida and each has helped encourage teams from Asia to train there.

“Nomo and Park are both true pioneers,” said O’Malley. “They opened the door for more players from Japan and South Korea to participate in Major League Baseball. Today, there have been 40 players from Japan and 14 from South Korea who have played in the major leagues. I am very proud of their leadership and their on-going commitment to youth baseball in Japan and South Korea.” [...]

Park, 41, signed as a free agent pitcher with the Dodgers on January 14, 1994. He enjoyed 17 seasons in Major League Baseball, including nine with the Dodgers (1994-2001, 2008). In 2001, he was a National League All-Star for the Dodgers. Park’s 124 major league wins are the most by a pitcher from Asia. He also pitched in three postseasons, including the 2009 World Series for the Philadelphia Phillies. Park pitched in 1,993 innings and had 1,715 strikeouts.

Park, from Kong Ju City, first pitched at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida during 1994 Spring Training as a rookie. Park made his first pitching appearance indoors on February 19, after a second consecutive day of rain cancelled his original debut at Holman Stadium.

Since retiring from his playing days in the United States in 2010, Park pitched one season for the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan and one year for the professional Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization in South Korea, where he remains one of the nation’s most popular athletes.

Today, Park is developing a baseball training center and entertainment complex in South Korea.

Congratulations to two Dodger pioneers!