Today In Brewer History: Happy Birthday, Takashi Saito

MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 02: Takashi Saito #40 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game Two of the National League Division Series at Miller Park on October 2, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

On this day in 1970 Takashi Saito was born in Miyagi, Japan. He had already had a long career in Japan and was just a week shy of his 36th birthday when the Dodgers signed him as a free agent before the 2006 season.

Saito has now pitched six years in the majors as a member of four teams (three years as a Dodger and one each with the Red Sox, Braves and Brewers). He's recorded 84 saves, appeared in an All Star Game and struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings for his career during years where most pitchers' playing days are already over.

Durability has never been a strong asset for Saito, but he has posted a 2.18 ERA over 326 innings in the major leagues. Among pitchers who have thrown at least 300 innings since the end of World War II, only one has done better:

Pitcher Seasons ERA
Mike Adams 2004-present 2.11
Takashi Saito 2006-present 2.18
Mariano Rivera 1995-present 2.21
Billy Wagner 1995-2010 2.31
Jonathan Papelbon 2005-present 2.33

In October Saito won a postseason game, becoming the oldest Brewer ever to do so.

Interestingly enough, Saito was born on the same day as 1996-97 Brewer Kelly Stinnett. Stinnett had a 14 year major league career and has already been retired for four years.

Both Saito and Stinnett turn 42 today. With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to:

  • Ken Henderson, the Brewers' first round pick in 1991 (#5 overall, didn't sign). He turns 39.
  • 1983-86 Brewer Jaime Cocanower, who turns 55.
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