On this day in 1982, Norichika Aoki was born in Miyazaki Prefecture. He was acquired by the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in the fourth round of the 2003 amateur draft after a standout tenure playing for Waseda University.
Aoki went on to make an immediate impression in the minors during his rookie year, and he became the everyday center fielder in 2005. He was an All-Star every year in Japan from that point forward, and he collected seven Best Nine and six Golden Glove awards by the end of the 2011 season.
He was also the Central League batting champion in ’05, ’07, and ’10.
Aoki was posted following the 2011 season and the Milwaukee Brewers won the right to negotiate with Aoki for a contract in 2012.
Aoki turns 30 today, and we hope that everything works out well for him in the Milwaukee chapter of his professional baseball career.