Hideo Nomo (野茂 英雄, Nomo Hideo?, born August 31, 1968 in Minato-ku, Osaka) is a Japanese former right-handed pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball. He achieved early success in Japan, where he played with the Kintetsu Buffaloes from 1990 to 1994. He then exploited a loophole to free himself from his Japanese contract and became the first Japanese-born Japanese major leaguer to permanently relocate to Major League Baseball in the United States. His successful debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995 is often credited with paving the road for the subsequent "wave" of Japanese players entering Major League Baseball.
Nomo pitched over the span of 13 seasons in the American major leagues with 8 different teams, before retiring in 2008. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1995. He twice led the league in strikeouts and also threw two no-hitters (to date the only Japanese pitcher to throw even one).
Nomo was on the silver medal winning Japanese baseball team at the 1988 Olympics, and the Kintetsu Buffaloes drafted him in 1989. Nomo debuted with them in 1990 and was an immediate success, going 18–8 but more impressively striking out 287 hitters in just 235 innings. The strikeout numbers are attributed to his unorthodox wind-up, where he turns his back to the hitter, raises his pivot leg, and freezes for a second before throwing. The windup gave him the nickname "Tornado". In his first four seasons, Nomo was as consistent, and consistently good, as any pitcher in Japanese baseball, winning 17 or 18 games each year. His fifth season in 1994 was marred by a shoulder injury and only netted him eight wins. Nomo was famous for his forkball which was unpredictable for hitters and catchers alike.