On July 16th, The Atlanta Braves honored one of baseball’s most renowned pitchers and former Atlanta Braves Knuckleballer, Joe Niekro. Niekro spent 22 years in the major leagues, notching 221 wins and still holds the record, with his brother Phil, of the most successful brother combination in major league history, with 539 wins. On October 27, 2006, Joe passed away from a sudden brain aneurysm. Today, his legacy lives on through the Joe Niekro Foundation, committed to the awareness and funding for aneurysm research and treatment. To honor this knuckleball legend, The Atlanta Braves hosted “Brain Aneurysm Awareness Night” at Turner Field on July 16, 2011. President and Founder of The Joe Niekro Foundation, Joe’s daughter, Natalie and Joe’s brother, Hall of Famer Phil Niekro were joined by over 50 aneurysm survivors from the Atlanta area and medical professionals from Emory Hospital for a special pre-game on field ceremony. From the times the gates opened to game time, fans visited The Joe Niekro Foundation booth in Monument Grove where they received a Wanna Get Lucky?t-shirt and autograph from Phil Niekro for a minimum donation of $20.
Wanna Get Lucky? is the foundation’s national awareness initiative campaign to educate people on the importance of early detection. In addition, throughout the game, fans were encouraged to participate in a “Text to Give” campaign by texting the word Strikeout to 20222. By doing so the texter was making a $10 donation to The Joe Niekro Foundation. Natalie and foundation volunteers sold Wanna Get Lucky? shirts throughout the game, plus gave text donors a commemorative Wanna Get Lucky? stress ball as a thank you for their support. We are pleased to report that Brain Aneurysm Awareness Night was a great success for The Joe Niekro Foundation and we thank everyone for their tremendous support.
Click here to watch the video shown at Turner Field prior to the on-field ceremony.