Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Night Baseball: 1966 Topps #28 Phil Niekro

Tonight the NL East Division leading Atlanta Braves conclude their three game set with the reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants. As part of our Sunday Night Baseball Series tonight we take a brief look at the career and cards of Hall of Fame Knuckleballer Phil Nierkro

1966 Topps #28 Phil Niekro

Phil Niekro won 318 games over a 24 year career. In the history of the game only 15 men have won more. Despite that heady qualification it took Niekro fve elections to get into Cooperstown. His other noteworthy numbers include 3342 strikeouts (11th all time) and 5404 Innings (4th).        

Advanced metrics may place Niekro even higher, He ranks 10th all time in Pitching WAR. That puts his Career WAR ahead of first ballot Hall of Famers Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson.

Some of this points to Phil Niekro make the Hall as a stat accumulator, but he had standout seasons as well.

In 1967 (when he first became a starting pitcher) he led the league with a 1.87 ERA.

During a rather impressive 3 year span form 1977-79 Niekro led the League in Starts, Complete Games (65 total for the 3 years), and innings - He also led the league in losses those 3 seasons as well as 1980.

Niekro probably deserved to win the Cy Young Award in in 1974, when he lost out to Mike Marshall (freaky 105 relief appearance year) and Andy Messersmith. It's debatable, Messersmith had a better record and more strikeouts, but it turns out Niekro had better WAR, ERA, and ERA+ Numbers.  

Niekro was also a competent fielder that won 5 gold gloves and made 5 all-star teams.

The Niekro family has of course had three major leaguers including Phil's brother Joe and Joe's son Lance.  Lance Niekro played four seasons for the Giants whom the Braves are facing tonight.

For The Collector
This 66 Topps #28 Card above is Niekro's 3rd card, but it is the first base card where he appears solo.  His 1964 Topps #541 RC is shared with Phil Roof, while teammate Clay Carrol appears on 1965 #461 which is also a High Number.  

The 1964 Topps #541 RC of Niekro is a high number and correspondingly rare. There was only one recent eBay auction that finished for the car and it was from a lower rater seller.  The low BIN for the card is $42.  For $110 you can pick up a PSA 7 NM card.

Recent ebay auctions for the 1964 and 65 cards concluded as follows(prices include shipping).
1966 Topps #28 Lowest $1.30 (7 auctions $3 or less)
1966 Topps #28 PSA 6 (EX-MT) $8.35
1966 Topps #28 PSA 7 (NM) $9.40
1966 Topps #28  PSA 8 (NM) $50

1965 Topps #461 Lowest: $5.75 (11 auctions $10 or less)
1965 Topps #461 PSA 4 (VG-EX) $14.71
1965 Topps #461 PSA 5 (EX) $19.75
1965 Topps #461 PSA 9 (NM) $376 (Highest Concluded Auction) 

The last Topps card issued of Niekro during his playing career was 1987 #694 on which he appears in an Indians uniform.

Phungo Phil Niekro HoF Index 
1973 Topps #503
1986 Topps #204 - (record breaker - oldest pitcher to toss a shutout)

ReWind - Past Sunday Nite Baseball Postings
Rangers (Phillies)  - Johnny Oates
Chicago White Sox / Kansas City A's - Ken "Hawk" #TWTW Harrelson
Detroit Tigers - Bill Freehan

Baseball Card Database

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a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions