Thanks to a last minute tip from my friend Josh I was able to meet Hideo Nomo, who is one of my all time favorite players in MLB history. Hideo Nomo is a pioneer for Asian baseball players in major league baseball as he started the wave of Asian players to move to the states to play in the major leagues. Had it not been Nomo's success on the diamond, players like Ichiro, Matsui and Darvish may have not had a chance to play in major league baseball today.
Hideo Nomo was a coach for team Japan in the USA vs Japan Junior High School Baseball Games at the Urban Youth Academy Baseball Field. Shigetoshi Hasegawa was the coach for the USA team. As I got out of work my buddy Josh ended up texting me details of this game. Initially I was hesitant since the game was held all the way out in Compton and I wasn't sure if I would make it on time. Plus there was no guarantee that Hideo Nomo would sign autographs. Since I collect autographs of Asian MLB players it was worth the risk, thus this was an event I had to attend. Plus this may be my only chance to get Hideo Nomo's autograph since he is very elusive.
I arrived at the baseball field around 7pm and the game already started. Admission was $10 thus indirectly this was a paid signing.
When I arrived I met up with Josh and Mike who were already at the game. Josh and Mike were able to get Hideo Nomo's autograph before the game which was a good sign since he did sign a few for the fans. Josh was lucky enough to even get a photo op with Nomo. Benson and I arrived about the same time so we missed out on getting Nomo's autograph pregame.
I decided to take some game photos to pass the time. The kids on team Japan and USA were extremely talented and I could picture some of these kids to play professionally in the future.
I took a picture of an interesting sign. I never knew baseball could be so dangerous. Check it out below.
The USA team ended up beating Japan after they rallied from 3 runs down in the 7th inning and ended up winning the game 7-6. After the game both teams were on the field as they congratulated each other and each player was awarded a medal. They also took team photos.
While Hideo Nomo was being interviewed by media I decided to get Shigetoshi Hasegawa's autograph. Shigetoshi was nice enough to sign my ROMLB on the SS and he also took a photo with me as well. I was happy I got at least one autograph since I knew I wouldn't be going home empty handed. There was no guarantee at that point I would also get Nomo's autograph. I want to thank Roberto for taking the photo below for me.
After Hideo finished his interview with the media he came over to us and signed. Nomo didn't sign on the sweet spot for anyone even when requested. He barely spoke English and even brought a translator with him so I had to ask him in Japanese for a signature. I was just happy he didn't run with a sharpie and he switched pens as he signed for one fan to another. I was happy just to get his autograph on my baseball since his autograph has been a holy grail of mine for quite some time. Nomo rarely signs nor does he have public autograph appearances. Plus I'm always happy when I can add to my Asian MLB player autograph collection.
I want to thank my friend Josh again for the last minute tip on Nomo and Hasegawa. Time to sleep.