Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#130 - Phil Niekro

Card fact:
After three straight years of Niekro receiving a card number that ended in a zero, Topps pulled the honor for his 1973 and 1974 cards. Niekro earned the zero back for 1975 after winning 20 games for the second time in his career in 1974.

What I thought about this card then: Well, I had the mini card, but I can't recall thinking anything about it.

What I think about this card now: Niekro looks very odd looking in for the catcher's signal while wearing a warm-up jacket under his uniform with the sleeves rolled up.

Other stuff: When Niekro was playing, he seemed like he would last forever. I was sure he was going to be pitching when he was 50. But he came up two years short.

Thanks to his knuckle ball, Niekro was able to achieve wondrous things, like winning 20 games and losing 20 games in the same season. He seemed like the only good thing the Braves had during their miserable run in the late 1970s. By the way, is every knuckle ball pitcher nicknamed "Knucksie"?

For you blog newbies, I interviewed Niekro once. He was a pleasant guy to talk to, just as I imagined he would. The story that I wrote from the interview is one of my favorites. No writer's block on that story, that's for sure.

(EDIT: Phil Niekro died at age 81 on Dec. 27, 2020).

Card fact:
I know nothing about Chuck Hiller other than that he's the answer to this trivia question.

Other blog stuff: Here's a bit of a rarity. The previous blog entrant, Rick Monday, had a famous comment about the latest blog entrant, Phil Niekro. Talking about Niekro's knuckle ball, Monday said: "It giggles as it goes by."

Oh, and here's the Big Phil-Little Phil comparision. Gotta love the minis:


Play at the Plate said...

That is one colorful card when you throw in the border with the colors on the uniform. I wonder how many pitchers have won AND lost 20 or more in the same season.

Jim from Downingtown said...

[By the way, is every knuckle ball pitcher nicknamed "Knucksie"?]

A better question is "Was Phil Knuckles a knuckle ball pitcher?"

Flitgun Frankie said...

Chuck Hiller later played for the Mets. I never saw him play, as he was slightly ahead of my time as a baseball observer. From what I’ve heard, he was the type of infielder who earns the nickname "clank". At one time in the mid 60s, the Mets had an infield of Dick Stuart at 1b, Hiller at 2b, Charlie Smith at 3b and Jesse Gonder At C. At short they had all-time fielding great, Roy MacMillan, who tried to hold them all together, but who was well past his all star days in Cincinnati and Milwaukee.