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Today In Brewer History: Happy Birthday, Norichika Aoki

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The Japanese outfielder turns 31 today.

Patrick McDermott

On this day in 1982 Norichika Aoki was born in Hyuga, Japan. He played eight seasons for the Yakult Swallows of Japan's Pacific League before the Brewers won an auction for his negotiating rights a year ago and brought him to the US.

No one knew exactly what to expect from Aoki in his major league debut season, but I think it's safe to say he exceeded everyone's expectations. Aoki appeared in 151 games for the Brewers in 2012 and hit .288/.355/.433 with ten home runs and went 30-for-38 stealing bases, finishing second on the team with 37 doubles and striking out just 55 times in 588 plate appearances.

Aoki was only the third player in franchise history to collect 150 hits in his rookie season:

Player Season Hits
Pat Listach 1992 168
Prince Fielder 2006 154
Norichika Aoki 2012 150

The Brewers have Aoki under contract for 2013 and hold a club option for 2014 with a combined value under $4 million. If he continues to produce at anything near this level, he'll be a bargain.

Aoki turns 31 today. With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to: