Crushing news for the baseball world, as legendary knuckleballer Phil Niekro has succumbed to his battle with cancer at the age of 81.
“We are heartbroken on the passing of our treasured friend, Phil Niekro,” the Braves said in a statement. “Knucksie was woven into the Braves fabric, first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta. Phil baffled batters on the field and later was always the first to join in our community activities. ”
He had a short two year stint with my hometown Yankees, but had his big 300th win in Yankee pinstripes, so they were not without memories.
For anyone who has ever picked up a baseball and played with their friends, we have all attempted to throw a knuckleball, and mostly get this slow mess of a pitch that would be taken 500 feet by anyone who has ever swung a bat before. So to master a single pitch to the tune of 300+ wins and 3,000+ strikeouts at the Major League level that translated into a Hall of Fame career is simply remarkable. According to many around baseball, and the article by The Post above, he seemed to be just as good of a human off the field, as he was on the mound. Another 2020 casualty. Fucking brutal.
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