Thursday, January 26, 2023

Atsushi Nohmi

Another player who retired at the end of last season was Atsushi Nohmi.

Nohmi had made a name for himself at Tottori Jōhoku High School when he pitched a perfect game during the Spring Prefecture Tournament in his third year.  Instead of going pro when he graduated though, he instead joined Osaka Gas of the corporate leagues and played for them for five years.  He was 25 years old when the Tigers took him in the "free acquistion frame" of the 2004 NPB draft (a way for teams to essentially come to pre-draft agreement with a player).

Nohmi made his ichi-gun debut in 2005 but spent much of the next few years bouncing between the farm team and the top team as well as bouncing between being a starter and a reliever.  Injuries to other pitchers forced him into the starting rotation in 2009 and he responded with a breakout season, going 13-9 with a 2.62 ERA and 154 strikeouts.  A foot injury in 2010 limited him to just 12 games (although he did go 8-0) but he bounced back in 2011 with a 12-9 record along with a 2.52 ERA and 186 strikeouts.  

He was a steady member of the Tigers rotation for the next six seasons but in 2018 he moved back in the bullpen.  He and the Tigers parted ways after the 2020 season and he signed a contract with the Orix Buffaloes.  He made 26 appearances out of the bullpen for Orix in 2021 but only made 5 in 2022.  He was actually a player-coach for the 2022 season.

Nohmi led the Central League in strikeouts in 2012 and made the All Star team in 2012 and 2013.  He pitched in losing efforts in the 2005, 2014 and 2021 Nippon Series but he did not make an appearance when the Buffaloes won the Series last year.  He was a member of the Japanese team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

His first baseball cards are from the 2005 BBM Rookie Edition (#58) and 1st Version (#402) sets.  He appeared in either or both of BBM's 1st and 2nd Version sets every year of his career.  His first Calbee card was in the 2006 set.  He spent the 2006-07 off-season pitching for the Waikiki BeachBoys of the Hawaiian Winter League and appears in their team set.  Here's a selection of his cards:

2005 BBM Rookie Edition #58

2005 BBM 1st Version #402

2005 BBM Nippon Series #27

2007 BBM 1st Version #256

2009 BBM 2nd Version #661

2011 Bandai Owners League 01 #113

2012 BBM All Stars #A48

2013 BBM 1st Version #347

2013 Topps Tribute WBC #39

2015 Calbee #137

2018 BBM 2nd Version #499

2021 BBM Tigers History 1935-2021 #69

2021 Calbee #105

2022 BBM 1st Version #169

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