Nancy Niekro Bio, Wiki
Nancy Niekro is best known for being the wife Phil Niekro wife nicknamed “Knucksie”, an American baseball pitcher who played 24 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), 20 of them with the Milwaukee / Atlanta Braves. Niekro’s 318 career victories are the most by a knuckleball pitcher and rank 16th on MLB’s all-time wins list. He won the National League (NL) Gold Glove Award five times, was selected for five All-Star teams, and led the league in victories twice, and earned run average once. It is being reported that Phil has died on December 26, 2020, Niekro died in his sleep after a battle with cancer. He was 81.
Nancy Niekro & Phil Niekro
Nancy and Phil were married in the mid-60s. The wedding story a day after their wedding which was published in the Atlanta Journal read “Niekro a Two-Timer,” and said, “It’s really funny the way things have been happening for me in pairs lately,” grinned newlywed Niekro. “In the first place, my wife and I were married twice over the weekend. We were married the first time Saturday night and the minister called Sunday morning and said he’d left something out of the ceremony so he came to the house that afternoon and married us again.
How did the two meet?
The two met on a United Airlines charter flight from Milwaukee to San Francisco, Niekro turned to his friend Gene Oliver and said, “I’m going to marry that girl.” That girl happened to be Nancy Lee Ferrand, a stewardess from California. With more crew aboard than were needed, Nancy was told she could have the night off.
She looked around and took one of the only available seats — next to Niekro. The two sat together and played gin rummy all the way to California. “One of us won two million dollars. I think it was Nancy,” said Phil. Neither Phil nor Nancy remembered to get the other’s address or phone number, but Nancy’s mother suggested that she send Phil a letter, in care of the ballclub. She did, and they corresponded for 11 months, rarely seeing each other, until the middle of the next season.
When the US airlines went on strike in July, Nancy was stuck in California with no work. Phil suggested she buy a one-way train ticket and come to Richmond.
Phil and Nancy moved to their retirement home on Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta, their three sons — Philip, John, and Michael — already grown. “We’ve been able to do things we’ve never been able to do before,” Nancy said. Looking back over her husband’s career, “it was a long time to be away.”
Phil Niekro Deah & Cause
On December 26, 2020, Niekro died in his sleep after a battle with cancer. He was 81. “We are heartbroken on the passing of our treasured friend, Phil Niekro,” said the Braves in a prepared statement. “Knucksie was woven into the Braves fabric, first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta. Phil baffled batters on the field and later was always the first to join in our community activities. It was during those community and fan activities where he would communicate with fans as if they were long lost friends.
BREAKING: Baseball Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, who pitched well into his 40s with a knuckleball that baffled big league hitters for more than two decades, has died at age 81. https://t.co/eRUV2QmP75
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 27, 2020
“He was a constant presence over the years, in our clubhouse, our alumni activities, and throughout Braves Country and we will forever be grateful for having him be such an important part of our organization.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Nancy, sons Philip, John, and Michael and his two grandchildren Chase and Emma.”
Niekro, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997, was one of baseball’s most prolific and durable pitchers, using his “butterfly” pitch to win 318 games in a career that spanned 24 seasons, 20 of those years with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves.