February 16

Phil Niekro

February 16, 1985 - Metro Atlanta

Knucksie won more games after age 40 than any pitcher in Major League history.

Phil Niekro, one of the most popular Atlanta Braves of all time, was born in Ohio in 1939. He made his big league debut with the Milwaukee Braves in 1964 before they moved to Atlanta in ‘66. He earned that nickname — “Knucksie” — by mastering the knuckleball, a floater of a pitch with no spin or rotation that is hard to control and a bear to hit. Outfielder Bobby Murcer said trying to hit against Niekro was like trying to eat Jello with chopsticks.

Knucksie won 318 games over 24 seasons. He led the Braves to the playoffs in 1969 and 1982, was a five-time All-Star, and threw a no-hitter in 1973.

Phil Niekro pitched until he was 48 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. He was still an active player when he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame on February 16, 1985, Today in Georgia History.