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Braves past and present react to the passing of Phil Niekro

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Goodbye Knucksie

Atlanta Braves v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Braves legend Phil Niekro passed away in his sleep Saturday night at the age of 81 after a long battle with cancer. Niekro enjoyed a unique career that was full of highlights. He made his Major League Debut in 1964 and pitched in his last game on September 27, 1987 at the age of 48. He logged over 5,400 innings in his Hall of Fame career with 1,977 coming after the age of 40. He is one of just seven pitchers all-time with at least 300 wins and 20 saves.

More so than his accomplishments on the field, Niekro was a beloved member of the Braves family. The team issued a statement Sunday in regards to his passing and Commissioner Rob Manfred soon followed. The MLB Players Association also issued a statement on Niekro’s passing.

Niekro was a beloved teammate and became a fixture in and around the ballpark and at spring training. He touched a lot of players’ lives. Dale Murphy, Andruw Jones and Ender Inciarte were among those who posted reactions to Niekro’s death.

Niekro was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997. If you were not lucky enough to have seen him play, then his career is one that is worth revisiting.

Our own Cory McCartney took a closer look at Niekro in May for his retired numbers series at Talking Chop. Niekro came in at No. 83 on Joe Posnanski’s “The Baseball 100” list over at The Athletic. Just looking at his Baseball Reference page is a thing to marvel.

RIP Knucksie