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Never know where it's going to go

Kaos

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Never know where it's going to go
« on: December 28, 2020, 12:54:24 AM »
Phil Neikro, the elder statesman of the knuckle ball, died today adding to the complete suckage of 2020. 

Phil was part of some of the shittiest Braves teams in history.  Often the best part of those teams.  Those were the Braves I grew up learning to love on the SuperStation.  My grandmother listened to them on the radio and later watched just about every game that came on.  She was always nervous when Neikro pitched because "you never know where that ball is going to go.  He doesn't even know!"

I enjoyed watching him.  When I was a kid I wanted to throw a football like Pat Sullivan and I mimicked his arm motion.  I wanted to throw a baseball like Phil. The guy won 20 games for a team that was 88-74 in 1974 but missed the playoffs. He was 17-4 in that crazy 1982 season when the Bravos (who perpetually sucked) reeled off 13 straight to open the season and went on to win the division.  That remains one of my favorite baseball teams of all time.  I can still name most of the roster.  Phil, Rafe, Wrong Way Perez, Bedrosian, Camp, Horner, Murphy, Claudell Washington (one of my all time favorite Braves, who also died earlier this year - fuck 2020), Hubbard, Benedict, Royster, Hrbosky, Mahler, Garber, Watson, Chambliss.  That was before I got jaded. 

Neikro, who looked old when he was young, was one of the guys I looked up to. He seemed like a friendly, average guy who'd figured out a way to throw a baseball that outsmarted people.  He signed a ball for me once when I was like eight or nine. Stupid me went and used it in the yard. Wish I had that back now.

I liked watching him pitch.  I spent many years trying to learn the knuckleball. I watched how he threw it, and listened when he talked about how he held the ball. I never did learn, though.  Every once in a while I'd throw one that had that motion to it and it was a thing of beauty.  Most of the time, though, my efforts were fat, flat opportunities for missiles to be launched. So I ended up catching. Never caught a knuckleball pitcher, always wished I had. 

I don't know what he'd been doing (and honestly wasn't aware he was alive).  I figured he was way older than the 81 his obit said he was.  Because he looked 65 when he was pitching in Atlanta in the 80s. 

Dude was a legend in my book. Glad I got to see him play. 


So he was 43 in that photo.  Looks way older than that to me. 
« Last Edit: December 28, 2020, 01:49:55 AM by Kaos »
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WiregrassTiger

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Re: Never know where it's going to go
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2020, 09:32:12 PM »
What a legend. I was a bandwagon braves fan but obviously knew of him.
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dallaswareagle

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Re: Never know where it's going to go
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2021, 04:13:10 PM »
I saw him pitch one time, Braves were already out 45 games in July one year in the mid to late 80's.  Got in for a dollar (with military ID) and pretty much had a whole section to ourselves.  We took good care of the beer vendor that day. 
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GH2001

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Re: Never know where it's going to go
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2021, 09:12:45 PM »
I saw him pitch one time, Braves were already out 45 games in July one year in the mid to late 80's.  Got in for a dollar (with military ID) and pretty much had a whole section to ourselves.  We took good care of the beer vendor that day.
Keen day at the ball park 
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