To me at least, Nomo was a major surprise. He's only the third player to ever be elected in his first ballot (following Victor Starffin and Sadaharu Oh) and he's the youngest player ever elected (although he's only six months younger than Sasaki).
I first started paying attention to Japanese baseball following the 2000 season. These are the first Hall Of Fame inductees that I remember from their playing days. Just another way to make me feel old...
Here's some cards of the new inductees. I've done posts in the past for both Nomo and Akiyama but never Sasaki. Maybe I'll take care of that sometime soon.
|1986 Calbee #196|
|2000 Calbee "Special Card Set" #SP-13|
|2012 BBM 1st Version #001|
|1991 Calbee #67|
|1993 Tomy #047|
|1994 Takara Buffaloes #11|
|1991 BBM #196|
|1997 Calbee #089|
|2005 Konami Baseball Heroes Old Black Edition #B05B093|
UPDATE: I neglected to mention something kind of important - Nomo and Sasaki are the first members of the Japanese Hall Of Fame to have spent time playing in MLB. In fact, Nomo spent much more time playing in MLB than he did in NPB - he appeared in 12 different major league seasons but only five in Japan.