ATLANTA — Ohio native, former Tribe pitcher and baseball Hall of Famer Phil Niekro died Saturday night at the age of 81 after a long battle with cancer.
The Braves, where Niekro played for 21 seasons, posted the announcement Sunday afternoon.
Niekro, nicknamed "Knucksie" for his impressive knuckleball, had a 24-season career in Major League Baseball, signing with the Braves in 1958 and making his MLB debut six years later.
After signing with the Yankees in 1984 for a single season, Niekro pitched for the Cleveland Indians in 1986 and part of 1987 before being traded to the Blue Jays.
We are deeply saddened by the news of Phil Niekro’s passing. In 1987, the native Ohioan put the Niekro brothers in the record books with a Cleveland victory that made the duo the winningest brother pitching combo in MLB history. The HOFer was 81. pic.twitter.com/HEVWRjg8n1— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) December 27, 2020
Over his 24-season career, Niekro recorded 318 wins with a lifetime 3.35 ERA and 3,341 strikeouts. He ranks fourth in baseball history in innings pitched, 11th in strikeouts and 16th in wins.
Niekro, the five-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
The Niekro family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be directed to the Edmondson Telford Child Advocacy Center located at 603 Washington St. SW, Gainesville, GA, 30501.