Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#620 Phil Niekro

300+ wins  HOF Knuckleballer….Because of his speciality pitch results in Longevity and Durability….Racked up an incredible number of innings, 5404 a number only surpassed three others (one named Young and one Johnson) all who only pitched in 1920s or before…. “Catching Niekro’s knuckelball was great. I got to meet a lot of important people. They all sit behind home plate.” — Bob Uecker….Paired with brother Joe, they hold the #1 spot for career wins,  539, beating the Perry brothers figure of 529…Even though Phil played for four clubs he was overwhelmingly a Braves icon…Started career in Milwaukee as a reliever….moved with franchise to Atlanta and stayed for 16 seasons….Achieved effectiveness in 1967 leading the NL in ERA….averaged 16 wins per season in those years….Had a Career high of 23 wins in 1969…. Other years of 20 wins or more were 1974 and 1979…. …Conversely led the league in losses four years when Braves were in doldrums…. In his prime he was #1 in multiple pitching categories some good (games started, innings, complete games) and bad (hits, walks, home runs given up)….5 time All Star….1984:Took free agent route to NY and won 32 games and lost 20 in two seasons….Finish out career for two season in Cleveland…Had a few starts for Toronto and Returned to Atlanta to start one last game 1987….oldest player in league for his last five season.


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