Saturday, August 21, 2010

Autograph Collection: Phil Niekro

Earlier this year, I started participating in some group breaks. I've been fortunate enough to acquire many excellent cards, but none better than this. Before Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, and after Spahn, there was Phil Niekro. Because so many fans and analysts focus on wins, it seems that Niekro is somewhat underrated outside of Atlanta. Folks, this guy pitched on some really, really awful baseball teams. A pitcher that goes 19-18 with a 2.88 era could have easily won 30 games in a year. He could have easily won 350 games on a better team. 

Niekro is, of course, the greatest of all the knuckleball pitchers. Still, my favorite Niekro story doesn't take place in a Braves uniform. On October 6, 1985, Phil Neikro would win his 300th game as a New York Yankee. On that day, he didn't just beat the Toronto Blue Jays, he shut them out. More impressive is how he did it: he didn't throw a single knuckleball until the final hitter of the game. 

This is an AWESOME baseball card and I'm grateful to Thorzul for running the group break.

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