Baseball History: The Niekros

phil niekro 1979Phil beat Joe for his 20th victory of the 1979 season.

It sounds pretty simple, but for the Niekro brothers they joined an exclusive club on Sept. 26.

Phil Niekro of the Atlanta Braves and Joe Niekro of the Houston Astros became the second set of siblings to reach the 20-win plateau in the same year.

Gaylord Perry and Jim Perry accomplished the feat during the 1970 season.

On the historic day for the Niekro family, the Braves won 9-4 over the Astros in Atlanta’€™s Fulton County Stadium.

Phil went the distance allowing four runs on eight hits. Joe wasn’€™t as good. He left the game with one out in the third, after giving up four runs on six hits.

One of the hits Joe surrendered was a two-run double by Phil in the second inning. Phil knocked in two more runs in the fifth with a single. Gary Matthews also helped the Braves offense with a two-run homer and RBI single.

In 1979, Phil finished the year 21-20, while Joe finished with a 21-11 mark as he earned the only all-star appearance of his career. They were the only 20-game winners in the National League.

Phil was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. A five-time all-star, he finished his career with a 318-274 mark over 24 years. He was with the Braves in Milwaukee and Atlanta from 1964 to 1983.

From 1984 to 1987, Phil pitched for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays and the Braves again.

joe niekro 1979Joe started his 22-year career with the Chicago Cubs in 1967. During 1969, he was traded during season to the San Diego Padres. He spent the next three years with the Detroit Tigers.

The Niekro brothers were teammates with the Braves during the 1973 and 1974 seasons before Joe joined the Astros in 1975. Joe was in Houston until he went to the Yankees in 1985 as the brothers were reunited.

Joe was still with the Yankees in 1987 when he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for their run to a World Series victory. He ended his time in the majors the next season with the Twins with a 221-204 record.

The First Set of 20-Game Winners

Jim Perry was with Minnesota when he had the best season of his 17-year career in 1970. jim perry 1970He won the American League Cy Young award with a 24-12 mark for the Twins.

Gaylord Perry led the NL in wins as he was 23-13 with the San Francisco Giants.

The Perry brothers seemed destined to get the job done. In 1969, Jim 20-6 for the Twins as they won their first of two straight AL West titles. Gaylord was 19-14 with the Giants.

Gaylord was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991. The five-time all-star was 314-265. He made the big leagues with San Francisco in 1962 and played for the Giants until 1971.

In 1972, Gaylord joined his brother as a Cy Young winner as he went 24-16 with the Cleveland Indians.

The Perrys are the only brothers to both win that award. Gaylord was traded during the 1975 season to the Texas Rangers and stayed there until 1977.

gaylord perry 1973Joining the San Diego Padres in 1978, Gaylord won the NL Cy Young Award as he was 21-6 and won over 20 for the fifth time in his career. From 1980 to 1983, he would return to Texas and then pitch for the Yankees, Braves, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals.

Jim Perry began his major league career with the Indians in 1959. He led the AL in wins with an 18-10 record in 1960. A trade during the 1963 season had him going to the Twins where he would have the most success. In 1973, the three-time all star joined the Tigers for one year.

In 1974, Jim and Gaylord both were with the Indians. Gaylord was 21-13 and started the all-star contest. Jim was 17-11.

Like his brother, Jim was traded from Cleveland in 1975 as he joined the Oakland A’€™s during his final season. He finished with a 215-174 career record.


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