Sunday, December 27, 2020

Phil Niekro Note Knuckle Ball Hall of Famer Dead at 81


Being a Major League pitcher is known as a young man’s game
Too many obstacles as the years go on to reach the Hall of Fame
Sliders over time hang and fastballs slowly lose their zip
Batters that once struck out are into the stands sending balls on home run trips
Injuries to the throwing can easily shorten a career
Even if as Tommy John and Jobe proved surgery can add to the years
But one pitch with age seems to improve
The slower it goes the more air pressure on seems makes it move
The knuckle ball when released bobs and weaves
Leaving batter and catcher not knowing when it will enter strike zone or leave
In the footsteps of Hoyt Wilhelm, a knuckle ball pitcher who retired at 49
Could still throw but hard to protect from line drives sizzling at him on a straight line
Phil Niekro threw the knuckle ball and retired at age 48
His 318 wins caused the opening of the Hall of Famer’s gate
A hitter trying to hit him said how hard it was to achieve that goal
“Hitting Phil Niekro was like trying to eat with chopsticks Jello in bowl”
Knuckle balls were the fountain of youth to prevent death from scoring runs
Wilhelm passed at age 80 and Phil Niekro just died at 81.
© December 27, 2020 The  Alaskanpoet

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