Sports Talk

#14 Sports Talk ― Fred Claire Looks Back on MLB Trailblazer Hideo Nomo’s Profound Impact

The ex-Dodgers GM called Nomo “a history maker and a history changer” related to the relationship between MLB and baseball in Japan.

More than a quarter century after the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Hideo Nomo, Fred Claire, the team’s general manager at the time, appreciates the immense importance of that transaction.

Listen in as the former MLB front-office executive discusses his decades in the game in this wide-ranging interview, along with vivid impressions of Nomo as a player and as a person. He also reflects on his friendship with beloved Dodgers play-by-play announcer Vin Scully, who passed away this summer (2022). 

Claire shares memories of the late Akihiro (Ike) Ikuhara, a former personal assistant to longtime Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley, and weighs in on superstar Shohei Ohtani’s place within MLB’s pecking order.

Nomo Changed the Game

In an August 2020 interview with this reporter, Claire summed up Nomo’s everlasting impact on baseball in his homeland. After Nomo joined the Dodgers in 1995, MLB became the desired destination for top Japanese players.  

“He changed the landscape forever,” Claire said. “You could have a player from Japan come over and set the all-time home-run record and he will not change baseball in Japan as much as Hideo. … There’s only going to ever be one player who changed the landscape. It’s Hideo.”

Read the eight-part Nomomania series from 2020.

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Author: Ed Odeven

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