Nomar, whose name is the reverse of his father's name "Ramon", was a first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1994 following a successful career at Georgia Tech. At the time, Boston had a talented shortstop patrolling the position in John Valentin, who finished 9th in MVP voting in 1995. Nomar's talent was just too good for the Sox to pass up, and Valentin was moved to 3B to make room for Nomar, who showed good power in his first tryout with the club, near the end of 1996. It was a tune-up for an outstanding rookie year in 1997, where he hit 30 HRs, drove in 98 runs, led the league in hits and was second in extra-base hits. He was named Rookie of the Year in a unanimous vote, and finished 8th in MVP voting. He also won the immediate admiration of Red Sox fans. With his hard work and attitude, not to mention his catchy name, his popularity has easily stretched well beyond "Red Sox Nation."
To the amazement of many, Nomar improved on his terrific rookie year in his following three seasons, furthering his status as a fan favorite. He hit 35 HRs and 122 RBIs in 1998 and finished second in MVP voting. In 1999 and 2000 Nomar led the American League in batting average, batting .357 and .372, finishing in the top ten in MVP voting both times. He is one of the few right-handed batters to win consecutive batting titles.
Unfortunately, in 2001, Nomar suffered a bad wrist injury, which essentially aborted his season. He recovered well enough in 2002 and drove in 120 runs while hitting a league-high 56 doubles.