To count down to the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.
Previous selections: 20. Matt Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo’s no-no – April 4, 2001
Most top moments on the list fall in the Orioles’ favor, but it’s impossible to overlook something that had never happened before and hasn’t taken place since at Camden Yards.
Nomomania had once gripped Chavez Ravine in the mid-1990s, but former Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo had seen the shine wear off the apple as he pitched for four teams in three years prior to his arrival in Boston in 2001. After being lit up in the Grapefruit League to the tune of an 11.37 ERA, no one knew what to expect as he took the hill in his first start for the Red Sox.
After the Orioles had defeated the Red Sox in an 11-inning thriller on Opening Day, history would be made two nights later as Nomo tossed the first no-hitter in the history of Camden Yards, winning 3-0. Not only was Nomo the first pitcher to no-hit the Orioles since Wilson Alvarez did it at Memorial Stadium in 1991, but 35,602 saw Nomo become just the fourth hurler in major league history to pitch a no-hitter in both leagues (his Senior Circuit performance coming with the Dodgers in 1996).
The 32-year-old used his unusual hesitation windup and ability to change speeds to stifle the Orioles, striking out 11 and walking three. In contrast, a middle of the lineup that featured Delino DeShields, David Segui, and Chris Richard wouldn’t strike much fear in pitchers’ hearts all season as the Orioles finished with a 63-98 record in Cal Ripken’s final season.
Nomo would win 13 games for Boston that season, but nothing would top his first start with the Red Sox, even if it came at the expense of the Orioles. It was a forgettable night for fans wanting a win, but a chance to witness history spawned many to throw their support behind the Japanese pitcher in the final innings. Or, perhaps it was just a precursor to the coming years when Boston fans would take over Camden Yards with the Red Sox in town.
(Editor’s note: The below video contains a 10-second baseball clip in Japanese before the highlights of Nomo’s performance are shown. Do not be alarmed or try to adjust your computer’s settings.)