KYODO TSUSHIN / KYODO NEWS AGENCY – Capping one of the most illustrious careers in modern Japanese sports, the prolific utility infielder/outfielder/pitcher Noh Hwan was recently inducted into the U.S. National Baseball Hall of Fame, marking a great sporting achievement for our nation.
After starting his career with Hiroshima Half-Lifes in 1992, Noh Hwan made the then-
unprecedented transition to Major League Baseball, playing for all 30 teams in the span of three years. Indeed, every single team confirmed having Noh Hwan on their roster during the work stoppage of 1994.
Noh Hwan led the league in strikeouts, popouts, and errors – and, strangely for a single player, ERA and WHIP as well – after posting zeros in all categories for his entire career. Most importantly, Noh Hwan was that rare slugger who built a legacy untainted by steroid use. In an era of gaudy home run totals, the menace of “juicing,” and Mark McGwire, Noh Hwan was a shining light and a hero to baseball fans of all ages.
According to the BBWAA, Noh Hwan was a better slugger than Barry Bonds and a more dominating pitcher than Roger Clemens. “When it came down to it, Noh Hwan was the clear choice on my ballot this year,” said Joe Posnanski, Hall of Fame voter since 1989. “Noh Hwan’s reputation was unsullied by drug use. With all these rumors, in good conscience I could only vote for Noh Hwan.”
Given Hwan’s popularity and skill, arguably never before seen in the history of the sport, Noh Hwan is a prime candidate to take the place of current Commissioner Bud Selig when he retires in 2014. “Honestly, Noh Hwan would be an even better commissioner than me,” said Selig.
“Who works harder than me? Noh Hwan,” added Selig.
When asked to comment on Hwan’s lasting legacy, manager Joe Torre said “I have absolutely no clue who you’re talking about.”