Originally posted on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 1/19/12
The news that Yu Darvish has finally signed with the Rangers inspired me (again) to do a little digging into the history of Japanese ballplayers in the Major Leagues. Not that we're talking ancient history here. Other than the Giants' 1960s relief pitcher Masanori Murakami, the only major league Japanese players have been playing only since Hideo Nomo found a loophole in his contract and retired from Japanese baseball to make his way to the Dodgers in 1995. The first mention of Nomo in Sports Illustrated came in February of that year, shortly after he discovered his path to the majors. Despite being a big star in the Far East, Nomo and his fight to get into American baseball was unknown stateside: His Tokyo-based agent, Don Nomura, recently retained a Los Angeles counterpart, Arn Tellem, to comb through Nomo's contract with the Buffaloes, and together they discovered a gaping loophole. While the standard major league contract prohibits, say, Barry Bonds from announcing his ret...
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