On October 6, 1985, Phil Niekro of the New York Yankees wins his 300th game. In becoming the 18th man to reach the milestone, Niekro shuts out the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-0, on the final day of the regular season.
Joe Niekro and Phil Niekro as teammates, first with Atlanta in 1973, and then with New York in 1985.
On the last day of the 1985 season, Phil was starting for the Yankees (at Toronto) and was going for his 300th career victory. The Blue Jays had just clinched the AL East, and Jays manager Bobby Cox was expected to rest most of the team’s starting players. On Saturday night, Phil and Joe decided that Joe would pitch in relief of Phil so he could potentially have a part in Phil’s historic 300th win.
During the ninth inning of the Sunday afternoon finale, with the Yankees holding a comfortable lead, Joe came out to the mound for a visit—instead of the pitching coach. He explained to Phil that he was in position to become the oldest pitcher ever to throw a complete game shutout (Phil was 46 at the time). Phil’s response to his younger brother was “‘OK, forget last night’s plan–you need to get the hell off the mound now!”
The forty-six year and 188 days old pitcher, who will win 318 games, also surpasses Satchel Paige (46 yrs, 75 days) to become the oldest pitcher to throw a shutout in the big leagues. He will eventually be passed by Jamie Moyer on May 7, 2010.