6. Phil Niekro
  1. General
  2. Awards
  3. Career Stats
  • Born: April 1, 1939 in Blaine, OH USA
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Height: 6'1"
  • Bats: R
  • Throws: R
  • Debut: April 15, 1964
  • Final Game: September 27, 1987
  • Gold Glove - 1978
  • Gold Glove - 1979
  • Lou Gehrig Memorial Award - 1979
  • Gold Glove - 1980
  • Roberto Clemente Award - 1980
  • Gold Glove - 1982
  • Gold Glove - 1983
 
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Phil Niekro played an incredible 24 seasons in the Major Leagues, 20 of which took place in a Braves uniform, and seemingly no matter how old he was (and how old he looked) he defied Father Time much longer than any Pitcher had the right to.

The secret to his success was the knuckleball, a pitch that is hard to master but does not take as much toll on your arm.  Niekro would debut in 1964 and found himself a permanent fixture on the Atlanta rotation in 1967, the season in which he won the ERA Title and he would break out in 1969 with a 23 Win season and a second-place finish in Cy Young voting. 

The 1970s would prove to be very good for the knuckleballer as he would have three more seasons of top-ten Cy Young voting, two seasons where he was the National League leader in Wins, yet it also included a strange stretch 1977-80 where he would finish first in Losses, but was also first in Innings Pitched in the first three of those years.  Basically, Niekro was really good but had limited support over this time period as putting it bluntly the Braves were not very good!  Still, Niekro persevered and he had another All-Star season in 1982.  The Braves thought Niekro was done after 1983 and he was released but he went on to play four more seasons including making a final start for the Braves in 1987.

Overall, NIekro would win 268 Games went to four All-Star Game,s and won five Gold Gloves for the Braves.

Phil Niekro was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.

The Bullet Points

  • Position: Pitcher
  • Acquired: Signed as an Amateur Free Agent 7/19/58.
  • Departed:

    Released 10/7/83.

    Acquired (2): Signed as a Free Agent 9/23/87.

    Departed (2): Retired after the 1987 Season.
  • Games Played: 740
  • Notable Statistics: 268-230 Record
    595 Games Started
    3.20 ERA
    226 Complete Games
    81 Games Finished
    29 Saves
    4,622.1 Innings Pitched
    2,912 Strikeouts
    3.46 FIP
    1.229 WHIP
    88.5 bWAR
  • Major Accolades and Awards:

    All-Star Game (1969, 1975, 1978 & 1982)
    Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (1979)
    Roberto Clemente Award (1980)
    Gold Glove (1978, 1979, 1980, 1982 & 1983)
    Highest bWAR for Pitchers (1978 & 1979)
    Lowest Earned Run Average (1967)
    Most Wins (1974 & 1979)
    Most Innings Pitched (1974, 1977, 1978 & 1979)
    Most Strikeouts (1977)
    Most Games Started (1977, 1978, 1979 & 1980)
    Most Complete Games (1974, 1977, 1978 & 1979)
    Highest ERA+ (1967)
    Most Putouts by a Pitcher (1969, 1973 & 1979)
    Highest Fielding Percentage by a Pitcher (1974, 1975, 1977 & 1981)

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