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Phil Niekro
Phil Niekro
Starting Pitcher
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB Debut
April 15, 1964 for the Milwaukee Braves
Final game
September 27, 1987 for the Atlanta Braves
Career Statistics
Win-Loss     318-274
ERA     3.35
Strikeouts     3342
Career Highlights and Awards
  • All-star in 1969, 1975, 1978, 1982, 1984
  • Gold Gloves in 1978-1980, 1982, 1983
  • Won the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1979
  • Won the Roberto Clemente Award in 1980
  • Led NL in wins in 1974 with 20 and 1979 with 21
  • Led NL in ERA in 1967 with 1.87
  • Led NL in strikeouts in 1977 with 262
  • Led NL in innings pitched in 1974 and 1977-1979
  • Most innings pitched by any pitcher in the live-ball era
  • Led NL in complete games in 1974 and 1977-1979

Philip Henry Niekro (April 1, 1939 – December 26, 2020) was an American pitcher in Major League Baseball and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

A native of Blaine, Ohio, Niekro attended Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, Ohio.

With 318 career victories, Niekro is the most successful knuckleball pitcher of all time. He was also an excellent fielder, winning the National League Gold Glove award five times. Together with his brother and sometime teammate Joe, the Niekro brothers are the winningest brother combination in baseball history, with 539 wins between them. Phil Niekro's 121 career victories after the age of 40 is a major league record, and his longevity is attributed to the knuckleball, which, while a difficult pitch for pitchers to master, is easy on the arm and difficult for batters to hit. He is also the uncle of current MLB player Lance Niekro. The baseball field in Phil's hometown of Bridgeport, Ohio has been named Niekro Diamond in honor of Phil and the late Joe Niekro.

Niekro pitched for 20 seasons for the Atlanta Braves (two of those seasons when the team was still in Milwaukee) and was popular in the city of Atlanta for remaining loyal to a team that often had a losing record, as well as for his contributions to Atlanta charities. On August 5, 1973, he threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.

The Braves released the 45-year-old Niekro in 1984, who then signed with the New York Yankees and went on to win 16 games and make the last of his five All-Star appearances. It was while pitching for the Yankees that Niekro gained entry into the exclusive 300 win club with a shutout win over the Toronto Blue Jays on October 6, 1985. At 46, Niekro became the oldest pitcher to pitch a shutout in the major leagues, and became the only pitcher to throw a complete game shutout for his 300th win. Ironically, he did not throw his trademark knuckleball until the final hitter.

After two seasons in New York, Niekro pitched for the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays in 1986 and 1987. The Blue Jays released him after he pitched ineffectively, and as a publicity stunt, the Braves brought him back for one last start to wrap up his career late in the 1987 season. At the age of 48, Niekro was the oldest player in major league history to play regularly, and his 24 seasons in the major leagues without a World Series appearance is a major league record. His total of 5,404⅓ innings pitched is the most by any pitcher in the post-1920 live-ball era. He only appeared in the post season twice, making a playoff start in 1969 and again in 1982, both for Braves teams that would go on to lose the series.

After the end of his professional baseball career, Niekro managed the all-women Colorado Silver Bullets baseball team. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997.

On December 26, 2020, Niekro died in his sleep. He had been diagnosed with cancer.

Career statistics

318 274 .537 3.35 864 716 245 45 29 5404.3 5044 2012 2337 482 1809 3342 226 123

See also


External links

Template:300 win club randy Johnson Template:Atlanta Braves