Let's go and give "Knucksie" Phil Niekro an "In Action" card in that fabulous 1972 Topp set, shall we:
Niekro was in the middle of an incredible run of 10 consecutive years where he averaged about 275 innings pitched a season!
His 1979 season is always fun to re-examine: a 21-20 record with a 3.39 earned run average, 44 starts, 208 K's, 23 complete games and 342 innings pitched!
He led the National League in BOTH wins and losses, along with starts, complete games, innings pitched hits allowed, walks and hit-batsmen, and got a sixth-place finish in Cy Young voting along with a Gold Glove for his efforts!
A 318-game winner over the course of 24 seasons between 1964 and 1987, Niekro seemed to pitch forever for the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays.
Throw in his 45 career shutouts, 3342 strikeouts and 245 complete games with his five Gold Gloves and it's clear why he was inducted into the Baseball hall of Fame in 1997.
Keep an eye out for my "Knucksie" "Nicknames of the '70s" card in the not-too-distant-future!