- Baseball in the Garden of Eden, A Book ReviewPosted 4 years ago
An Interview with Phil Niekro
- Updated: June 11, 2013
Hey baseball fans!
As you may know, I just went to the Hall of Fame Classic and got to interview some of the greatest players and managers in baseball history. One of the pitchers I briefly interviewed was Hall of Famer Phil Niekro. Because the interview was not filmed (just like the ones with Cito Gaston and Bobby Cox), I will tell you his answers to the two questions that I asked him with a short bio about the great pitcher.
During a 24-year career from 1964-1987 with the Braves (Milwaukee and Atlanta), Yankees, Indians, and Blue Jays, Niekro’s career record was 318-274. That winning percentage was significantly better than the teams he played with, which would explain his 274 losses with an ERA of just 3.35. Niekro’s nickname, Knucksie, was given to him because of his baffling knuckleball, which helped him collect 3,342 career strikeouts. Niekro said that he learned how to throw a knuckleball from his father when Phil attended Bridgeport High School in Ohio. The five-time All-Star recorded one no-hitter in his career, when he no-hit the Padres on August 5, 1973 with the Braves. He later managed the all-women Colorado Silver Bullets baseball team. Many people had no idea how Niekro was still able to pitch in the Bigs until he was 48 years old, but when I asked him how he managed to keep the tank rolling for so long, he simply said that he was lucky. He never had any major arm injuries during his career, which made his right arm have the ability to endure 24 years of pitching on the mound. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.