Phil Niekro, Corridor of Fame pitcher, dies at the age of 81

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“We are heartbroken on the passing of our treasured friend, Phil Niekro,” the Braves reported in a statement. “‘Knucksie’ was woven into the Braves fabric, very first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta. Phil baffled batters on the discipline and later was normally the first to join in our neighborhood pursuits. It was for the duration of these group and supporter functions wherever he would communicate with fans as if they have been extended dropped friends.”

Just after a 24-year profession spanning from 1964 to 1987, Niekro was inducted into the Countrywide Baseball Corridor of Fame in 1997.

Niekro mastered the artwork of throwing the knuckleball, a rarity among the significant league pitchers, which earned him the nickname “Knucksie.”

“The aim of a knuckleball is to eradicate virtually all of the spin on the baseball, resulting in it to flutter unpredictably on its way to the plate,” suggests. Knuckleballs are complicated for batters to strike — and catchers to catch — simply because of the ball’s erratic motion, stated.
For two decades, Niekro anchored the Braves’ starting off rotation in the two Milwaukee and Atlanta. Niekro’s 740 video games pitched in a Braves uniform is even now the franchise file. More than his important league profession, he won 318 game titles, shed 274 and had a 3.35 attained run normal.

“Phil Niekro was one particular of the most distinctive and memorable pitchers of his era,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stated in a assertion. “In the final century, no pitcher threw much more than Phil’s 5,404 innings. His knuckleball led him to 5 All-Star options, a few 20-earn seasons for the Atlanta Braves, the 300-acquire club, and finally, to Cooperstown.”

Manfred additional, “But even more than his signature pitch and trademark sturdiness, Phil will be remembered as one of our game’s most genial folks. He generally represented his activity terribly perfectly, and he will be deeply missed. On behalf of Main League Baseball, I extend my condolences to Phil’s family members, mates and the a lot of admirers he earned through his everyday living in our National Pastime.”

“Phil Niekro’s history on the discipline ranks him as 1 of the game’s greatest pitchers,” claimed Jane Forbes Clark, chairwoman of the National Baseball Corridor of Fame and Museum. “As a mentor, chief and pal, Phil brought out the ideal in all of us in Cooperstown. In excess of extra than a 10 years of serving as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Hall of Fame, his wisdom, his compassion, and his appreciate for the match proved to be invaluable in assisting us condition our decisions.”

Niekro is survived by his spouse Nancy sons Philip, John, and Michael and his two grandchildren, Chase and Emma.

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