The winner of 221 games in his 22 major-league seasons, Joe Niekro and his older brother, Phil, together form the winningest brother combination in baseball history, with a total of 539.
A native of Martins Ferry, Ohio, Niekro pitched for seven teams in his career, starting with the Chicago Cubs in 1967.
In 1979, with Joe pitching for the Houston Astros and Phil for the Atlanta Braves, both Niekros won 21 games to tie as leaders of the National League. As with his older brother, Joe's pitching success was the result of craftiness and guile rather than speed and strength. He baffled batters for more than two decades with an assortment of Niekro knuckleballs and other off-speed offerings. Despite his long stellar career in the majors, Joe never worked harder or accomplished more than he did as coach of the Silver Bullets pitching staff.
Joe and his wife, Debbie, live in Plant City, Florida.