On this day in 1976 Tomokazu "Tomo" Ohka was born in Kyoto, Japan. He was 22 when the Red Sox purchased him from Japan's Yokohama Bay Stars, and 23 when he made his major league debut with Boston in 1999. Ohka had been a member of the Red Sox, Expos and Washington Nationals when he joined the Brewers in the 2005 trade that sent Junior Spivey to Washington.
Ohka pitched parts of two seasons as a Brewer, making 40 appearances (38 starts) and posting a 4.55 ERA over 223.1 innings. All told he pitched ten major league seasons, most recently appearing in the big leagues as an Indian in 2009. He spent 2010 and 2011 back in Japan with Yokohama.
To this day Ohka is one of just two Japanese-born pitchers to accumulate more than 1000 innings pitched in the major leagues. The other is another former Brewer, Hideo Nomo.
Thanks to the B-Ref Play Index for reminding me that Ohka turns 37 today. We'd also like to wish a happy birthday to:
- 2003-04 Brewer Scott Podsednik, who turns 37. We covered his birthday in this space last year.
- 1980-81 Brewer Rickey Keeton, who turns 56.
- 1961 and 1964-65 Milwaukee Brave Federico Emilio "Chi-Chi" Olivo, who would have turned 85.