Hideo Nomo is back in baseball, only this time he’ll be an advisor in the San Diego Padres Baseball Operations department. This news comes just a few days after Hall of Famer Greg Maddux took a similar role with the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers. My favorite Nomo moment of all-time will, of course, be his no-hitter that he threw with the Red Sox, which was also the first game that Don Orsillo called as a Red Sox broadcaster.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, a Bobby Valentine story seems appropriate. As you might know, the hiring of Nomo means that he will be in the same organization as Mark McGwire, who was hired as the Padres’ bench coach earlier this offseason. During spring training in 1999, fresh off his record-setting 70 home run season with the Cardinals, Mark McGwire struck out on a split-finger fastball out of the hand of Nomo. The split-finger fastball was Nomo’s best pitch, so it only made sense that Valentine would tell Nomo to divert from it.
“Let’s see how far he can hit it,” Valentine said he told Nomo. McGwire fouled off Nomo’s first fastball, then deposited the next one 450 feet over the left-field fence at Thomas J. White Stadium.
Atta boy, Bobby V. There’s no video of that home run, but it probably looked something like this.