|Phil Niekro was master of the fluttering knuckle ball and Grand Daddy of the pitchers. Phil started pitching in the majors at age 25 and pitched until he was 48 years old. Niekro won over 300 games in his great career. |
In 1967, Phil Niekro led the National League in ERA with an outstanding 1.87. In 1969, he won 23 games and helped the Atlanta Braves win their first ever NL West Crown. Niekro was one of baseballs' top control pitchers as noted by his strikeouts to walks ratio; in 1969, he struck out 193 would be hitters and walked only 57.
August 5, 1973, Phil Niekro hurled a no-hitter vs. the San Diego Padres. He won 20 games in 1974; starting 39 and completed 18 of them including six shutouts, and his' opponents batting average was .225. In 1979, he was 21-20 and led the league for the second year in a row in both complete games (23) and in innings pitched (342).
Phil Niekro was a top fielding pitcher and won Glove Gloves Awards in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982 & 1983.
He is 3rd on the all-time list for the most career shutout losses (with 49); meaning he lost the game when the opposing pitcher hurled a shutout. Hall of Famers Walter Johnson and Nolan Ryan are the leaders in shutout losses. All three pitched on some poor playing teams for most of their careers.
Phil Niekro's career total : 318-274, pct .537, pitched 45 shutouts and had an ERA of 3.35, OBA .247. Niekro seemed to pitch forever and his lifetime total of 5404 innings pitched and 24 years of pitching service bares this fact out.