Tornado Boy is Back
Hideo Nomo is back in MLB. This makes me happy, because he’s one of my favorite athletes.
When I wrote about him 5 years ago, I said that one of the reasons I liked him was because of his insistence on sticking with his unorthodox style. Well, at 39 and having recovered from many injuries, he’s proven his perseverance by doing exactly the opposite of that. He stopped using his trademark windup style that earned him the nickname “Tornado Boy” — and is pitching only from the set position, even when there’s nobody on base. Apparently he has learned that his big windups were putting too much stress on his elbow, so in order to stay healthy he is only using the set position. At his age, he has lost velocity in his fast balls — so he’s relying more on his forkballs. He’s definitely had to adjust his pitching philosophies because he now has fewer weapons.
An ordinary player might decide to simply retire. But with Nomo, it shows that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep doing what he loves doing — playing in the Major League Baseball.
For the past two years he went from one team to another, mostly in minor leagues. He even played in the Venezuelan league, always hoping that he would someday come back to the stage that he believed he belongs. He doesn’t make much money in MLB standards, and he’s now relegated to being a reliever instead of a starter that he was for most of his career.
But Tornado Boy marches on. I think it’s an inspiring story. He would disagree, but I’m certainly inspired by his determination!