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    Joe Niekro


    The younger, underrated half of the winningest brother duo in major league history, despite decent early seasons as a starter and reliever, Joe Niekro struggled between the majors and minors before perfecting his knuckleball in the Atlanta system. Purchased by the Astros, Joe soon proved his value. In 1979, Joe and Phil tied for the NL win lead, but Joe was TSN NL Pitcher of the Year and runner-up in the Cy Young vote. Joe won the one-game playoff between the Astros and Dodgers in 1980, then pitched a record 10 shutout innings to a no-decision in the third game of the LCS. From 1980 to 1987, Joe, the winningest pitcher in Astros history, had 104 wins to Phil 's 100. He was 5-4 head-to-head against Phil and homered off him in 1976. He was suspended during the 1987 season when found carrying a nail file in his back uniform pocket. He finally appeared in the 1987 World Series a record 19 years' and 138 days' service (over the course of 21 seasons) after beginning his big league career. (ME)

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