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Today In Brewer History: Happy Anniversary, John Axford

Over the course of his career with the Brewers, Doug Melvin has developed a reputation as being pretty good at improving the team by picking up players off the scrap heap. On this day in 2008 he made one of his best "buy low" pickups, signing John Axford as a minor league free agent.

We all know Axford's story, of course: He attended two colleges, slipped through the cracks as a draft prospect, was signed and released by the Yankees and was back home in Canada, tending bar before Brewer scout Jay Lapp was the only person to show up at his showcase for teams.

After spending 2008 with Brevard County, Axford shot up the organizational ladder in 2009 and earned his first big league callup that September. By May of 2010 he was the Brewer closer, and in 2011 he set a franchise record and led the NL with 46 saves. After just a year and a half on the job he's already in the conversation for greatest closer in Brewer franchise history.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to: