Friday, August 25, 2017

no. 695 - joe niekro

Who is the man: Joe Niekro was coming off his best season with the Tigers when this card was issued. In his first season in Detroit, he won 12 games in 38 appearances. But he was entering the lowest point of his career, which would last until the Astros acquired him in the mid-'70s.

Can ya dig it: I like to pretend the air bubbles are sparkles in the sky. It's better than running right out and buying another high-numbered Niekro card.

Right on: I've mentioned this before, but it's very weird seeing Niekro as anything but an Astro.

You see that cat Niekro is a bad mother: Niekro pitched back-to-back 20-win seasons in 1979 and 1980.

Shut your mouth: After Niekro was famously ejected from a game in 1987 after umpires caught him discarding an emery board from his pockets, he went on David Letterman's show to discuss the incident. Equipped with a tool belt and carrying a sander, he insisted he didn't scuff baseballs. "You're telling me you don't doctor baseballs," Letterman quizzed. "Do I look like a doctor to you?" Niekro said.

No one understands him but his woman: Niekro was purchased by the Astros from the Braves in 1975 for a mere $35,000, that's how washed up he seemed. He proceeded to win 135 games over the next 10 years.

(A word about the back): Well, this is a particularly timely (and painful) write-up. Niekro lost his no-hitter after 8 1/3 innings when the Yankees' Horace Clarke singled.


  1. Joe Niekro was one of only three 1969 Cubs to play in a World Series after that season. (18 years later) The others were Ken Holtzman and Oscar Gamble.

  2. Niekro's story is one great comebacks of all time (actually one that far exceeds his earlier career). A testimony to the longevity and effectiveness of an effective knuckleball. He and brother Phil hold the record for wins by sibling beating out Jim and Gaylord Perry.