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Discussion in 'Baseball' started by Charles Martel, Dec 27, 2020.
I saw he died in his sleep yesterday morning. While I was not a huge fan of his as he wasn't in the class of Carlton, Seaver, Ryan or Palmer, his longevity was phenomenal. He also looked amusing compared to Nolan Ryan who while pitching well into his 4o's looked like a trim athlete and Niekro had a bit of a pot belly and rings around his eyes.
Niekro and his brother were almost like unicorns pitching a pitch that is literally thrown at a MLB level by one pitcher every decade. I wonder if he doctored the ball like his brother who had the hilarious moment of getting caught with sand paper on the mound.
Anyway RIP Knucksie...
From wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Niekro
5× All-Star (1969, 1975, 1978, 1982, 1984)
5× Gold Glove Award (1978–1980, 1982, 1983)
Roberto Clemente Award (1980)
2× NL wins leader (1974, 1979)
MLB ERA leader (1967)
NL strikeout leader (1977)
Pitched a no-hitter on August 5, 1973
Atlanta Braves No. 35 retired
Niekro and his younger brother Joe amassed 539 wins between them, the most combined wins by brothers in baseball history.
Phil's 121 career victories after the age of 40 is a major league record.
I have really fond memories of the Niekros from my childhood.
Over 3,000 Ks, 300 Wins, 3.35 ERA, he was an underrated great
Interestingly, he also had 29 Saves.
Many knuckle ball pitchers have their own catchers because of the bizarre spin on the ball and have heard a few hitters have been given days off against a Niekro type because it would screw up the swing of the hitter for days because of sand lot speed of the knuckle ball.
Phil Niekro's longevity was unsurpassed. Only Nolan Ryan ranks with him. Niekro didn't pitch in the majors until he was 25, and only played in ten games in his rookie season of 1964. In 1982 when he was 43 he went 17-4. When he was 45 he went 16-8, then 16-12 at age 46! Satchel Paige gets the (false) acclaim from the fake news media as a great pitcher at an advanced age, but Phil Niekro was the best old pitcher ever, bar none, and far and away the best knuckleballer. It seemed like he was going to still be pitching effectively at the age of 50 (think about that!!) but he finally declined in 1987 when he was 48. A remarkable pitcher and an all-time great. RIP
Tommy Lasorda died. He was 93 yrs. old. I saw him pitch at Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn when I was a boy. I didn't know if he was good or not. I only cared that he was a Dodger, aka, one of the good guys, one of the last of the "Boy's of Summer".
Tommy Lasorda was an old school throwback.
He was combination of Casey Stengal and an Italian American character actor from various mob movies. His constitution was amazing as you could have layed odds that he would never get close to 90+ with his rotund body when he was the Dodgers manager in the late 80's....
I figured it out he was Tommy Devito in Goodfellas....
Man, you are not kidding! What a character. I remember him fondly from my childhood as a great manager. I got to catch the tail end of it in the early 90s.
From the era of great managers with personality in the 1970s. I remember Earl Weaver, Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog, Sparky Anderson, Don Zimmer, and Tommy Lasorda. The managers were as entertaining as the players.
Lots of strong individual personalities for sure. Martin and Weaver in particular could be infuriating at times, but never backed down.
But now in baseball, as in everything else, soulless dehumanizing corporations have taken over total control, and as a result, showing individuality or any kind of differentiation from the herd is career-ending.
BTW, it would have been nice if Lasorda's death had been started as a new thread for him rather than being added on to Phil Niekro's tribute thread.