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Former Atlanta Brave Phil Niekro Helping Baltimore Orioles Minor Leaguers Develop Knuckleball

August 12th, 2013 at 9:23 PM
By Cody Fields

Atlanta Braves Hall of Famer Phil Niekro is still busy at the age of 74. The ageless knuckleballer has found a home with the Baltimore Orioles in helping develop pitchers who utilize the pitch that made his career.

Niekro is helping turn Orioles minor leaguers Zach Clark, Zach Staniewicz and Eddie Gamboa into full-time knuckleball pitchers at the behest of manager Buck Showalter. When Showalter was managing the Texas Rangers in 2005, he convinced 2012 National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to work on a knuckle.

“You forget everything you learned about pitching when you throw a knuckleball,” Niekro said to the New York Times.

And that's exactly what Baltimore is doing. They're picking out pitching prospects who would otherwise probably stay in the minors or maybe have a cup of coffee in the big leagues who are also trying to resurrect their careers.

“We knew this wasn’t a short-term project,” Niekro said. “We were willing to invest some time in them if they were willing to spend some time on the knuckleball.”

Niekro had an incredible 24-year career in the Major Leagues, 21 of which were with the Braves and two of those were with the Milwaukee Braves. He won 318 games over his career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.

For more on this story, go to the New York Times.

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Photo credit: tbridge / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, Buck Showalter, Eddie Gamboa, Hall of Fame, MLB, Phil Niekro, R.A. Dickey, Zach Clark, Zach Staniewicz

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