Joe Niekro - Timeline

Astros Trades & Transactions

Apr 6, 1975:Paid $35,000 to Atl-N for Joe Niekro(P)
Sep 15, 1985:Traded Joe Niekro(P) to NY-A for Jim Deshaies(P), Dody Rather(P) and Neder Horta(IF). Hou received Horton on Sep 24 and Rather on Jan 11.

This Date in Astros History

Nov 7, 1944:Joe Niekro is born in Martin's Ferry, OH. Much of his career is spent in the shadow of his Hall-of-Fame older brother but the younger sibling leaves Houston as the winningest pitcher in franchise history (144). The two combine to win 539 major league games in their careers, most of any brother duo in baseball history.
Apr 6, 1975:For $35,000, the Astros purchase Joe Niekro from the Braves. Niekro would win 144 games for Houston and become the club's first two-time 20-win pitcher.
May 25, 1975:Coming back from an early 6-0 deficit, the Astros tie the Expos in the ninth on Cesar Cedeno's leadoff blast into the center field tunnel. Montreal's Mike Jorgensen doubles off Joe Niekro in the 12th to snap the tie. Doug Rader cracks his third double and fifth hit of the game before Enos Cabell doubles to tie it again. Milt May's bloop eludes three Expos for the game-winner to give Houston an 8-7 triumph.
May 29, 1976:Joe Niekro tags his brother Phil for a home run in a 4-3 victory at Atlanta. It is the only homer in Joe's 21-season major league career (973 ABs). The seventh-inning blast comes on a knuckleball that Joe sends over the left field fence. Ken Boswell contributes three hits, including the game-winner.
Jul 17, 1977:Mark Lemongello snaps a personal losing skid with a 3-1 victory over the Reds. Bob Watson and Enos Cabell swat solo homers for the winning margin. Joe Niekro hurls three innings in relief for the save.
Sep 26, 1978:Joe Niekro outduels his brother Phil in a 2-0 whitewash of the Braves and denies Phil a 20-win season. Joe allows seven hits then gives way to Ken Forsch in the ninth. Jose Cruz and Julio Gonzalez drive in the game's only runs.
Jun 13, 1979:Bob Watson is traded to the Red Sox for pitchers Pete Ladd, Bobby Sprowl and cash. On the field, Cesar Cedeno moves to first base, responding with three hits and three RBIs to pace a 4-3 victory over the Phillies. Art Howe homers. Joe Niekro wins his ninth straight decision to keep the Astros two games in front of the Reds.
Jun 17, 1979:Montreal puts a 19-3 hurt on the Astros, touching Joe Niekro for eight runs in the first three innings. George Throop and Randy Niemann are also blasted. Even winning pitcher Dan Schatzeder gets two hits.
Sep 30, 1979:Joe Niekro becomes the first 21-game winner in club history with a 3-2 triumph over the Dodgers. An eighth-inning sacrifice fly by Danny Heep plates the game-winner. The Astros finish with a best-to-date 89 wins but fall 1-1/2 games short of Cincinnati for the N.L. West title.
Nov 7, 1979:Cubs reliever Bruce Sutter narrowly edges Joe Niekro for the N.L. Cy Young Award. Joe ties with his brother Phil for the league lead in victories with 21. J.R. Richard finishes third in the voting despite leading the league in ERA (2.71) and strikeouts (313).
May 6, 1980:Cold, damp Olympic Stadium is where the Astros must wait through a rain delay of three hours and 50 minutes to complete an 8-4 victory. Jose Cruz has four RBIs to lead the Astros while Joe Niekro survives the weather and the Expos for a complete-game win.
Aug 23, 1980:Joe Niekro comes on in relief to start the 16th inning of a scoreless tie with the Cubs at the Dome. He wins it himself an inning later when he drives home Enos Cabell for a 1-0 triumph in 17 frames. Houston pitchers allow just seven hits to increase their lead in the NL West to three games over Los Angeles.
Oct 6, 1980:Astros win the N.L. West for the first time with a 7-1 playoff victory in Los Angeles. Joe Niekro gets his 20th win on a six-hitter. Art Howe is the offensive star with four RBIs on a two-run homer and a two-run single. Craig Reynolds adds three hits. Alan Ashby is kneed by Dodger catcher Joe Ferguson after a violent collision in the fourth. Ashby's rib is broken and he'll miss most of the N.L.C.S.
Oct 10, 1980:Denny Walling delivers Rafael Landestoy with a sacrifice fly as Houston wins their first post-season home game, 1-0, over Philadelphia. The Astros lead the best-of-five N.L.C.S., 2-1. Joe Morgan slams a Tug McGraw fastball high off the right field fence in the 11th inning for a triple and comes out for Landestoy. Joe Niekro blanks the Phils for ten innings before Dave Smith enters to get the win.
May 30, 1981:Rafael Landestoy steals a base and scores on a single by Terry Puhl as Houston outlasts the Giants, 8-7, in 14 innings. The Astros blew a lead in the ninth then blew a three-run lead in the 13th before putting this one away. Houston tallies 21 hits in the effort, including three by Joe Niekro.
Aug 16, 1981:Joe Niekro and Dave Smith combine on a two-hitter to blank San Diego, 3-0. Niekro and Steve Mura trade goose eggs for seven innings until Tony Scott drives home Joe Pittman in the eighth. Gary Woods then delivers Scott. In the ninth, Scott again plates Pittman with an insurance run. The shutout caps a seven-game road trip to open the "second season", with the Astros winning five of them.
Oct 7, 1981:Denny Walling delivers a bases-loaded single in the 11th inning for a 1-0 triumph over the Dodgers at the Astrodome. Joe Niekro, Dave Smith and Joe Sambito combine for the shutout. The victory puts the Astros ahead, 2-0, in their five-game divisional series. Like the year before, Houston needs to win just one of three in Los Angeles to advance to the N.L.C.S.
Jul 5, 1982:Joe Niekro gives up homers to Omar Moreno and Johnny Ray to start the game, then settles in for a 6-4 complete-game victory in rainy Pittsburgh. Jose Cruz and Phil Garner bail Niekro out with a home run and three RBIs apiece.
Jul 17, 1982:Harry Spilman launches a tenth-inning bomb off Kent Tekulve to stab the Pirates, 4-3, at the Dome. Joe Niekro, for whom Spilman was pinch-hitting, goes the distance for the victory. Dickie Thon also homers.
Apr 19, 1983:Pinch-hitter Harry Spilman drills a three-run ninth-inning homer off Tom Hume to stun Cincinnati, 6-5. Shortstop Dickie Thon has four hits, including a home run. Bill Dawley earns his second win in relief. The Astros' day does not start well as catcher John Mizerock suffers three passed balls in the first inning while the Reds jump on Joe Niekro for four runs.
Jun 7, 1984:Jerry Mumphrey and Craig Reynolds crack two-run homers to pace the Astros to a 14-5 thumping in San Francisco. Terry Puhl has four hits while Jose Cruz and Bill Doran each contribute three. Joe Niekro is the beneficiary.
Jul 1, 1984:Jerry Mumphrey cracks two home runs and drives in six as the Astros maul the Phillies, 13-1. Denny Walling also homers. Jose Cruz has a four-hit night and scores four times. Craig Reynolds and Terry Puhl chime in with triples. Joe Niekro scatters six hits in an easy victory.
Jul 6, 1984:Bill Doran singles five times in the second game of a doubleheader against Montreal, a 7-5 loss. Houston takes the opener, 8-2, as Joe Niekro wins his seventh straight in a complete-game performance.
Sep 25, 1984:Phil Garner goes 4-for-5 to pace a 12-6 win at Dodger Stadium. Houston pounds Orel Hershiser for five runs in the second but Los Angeles gets to Joe Niekro for six runs in the bottom of the frame. No problem. The Astros tally four more times the next inning and then it rains. Niekro staggers to his 16th win while Jose Cruz and Alan Ashby go deep.
Apr 20, 1985:Joe Niekro and Frank DiPino combine on a two-hitter for an 8-1 victory over Atlanta. Jose Cruz drives in four while Brave-killer Craig Reynolds has two hits, including a homer.
Jun 9, 1985:Joe Niekro becomes the winningest pitcher in club history with a two-hit shutout of the Giants, 5-0. Mark Bailey helps his batterymate with a three-run blast. Niekro had failed in the previous six starts to notch his 138th win as an Astro, leading to offers from Niekro to pay the hitters for helping him set the mark.
Jul 2, 1985:Phil Garner doubles home Denny Walling in the eighth to take a 3-2 triumph in San Diego. Joe Niekro wins his 200th game with relief help from Jeff Calhoun. Joe and his brother Phil become the second pitching brothers to both reach 200 wins in their careers. Joe would finish with 221.
Sep 15, 1985:Glenn Davis blasts a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth off Craig Lefferts for a 2-1 victory over San Diego. Jose Cruz notches the 2,000th hit of his career. Meanwhile, Joe Niekro is dealt to the New York Yankees for pitcher Jim Deshaies and two other prospects.
Oct 27, 2006:Joe Niekro, the first pitcher in Astro history to post consecutive 20-win seasons, dies of a brain aneurysm in Tampa, FL at age 61. He threw in Houston for 11 seasons (1975-1985). At the time of his passing, he was the franchise leader in wins with 144.