Ken Holtzman, who threw 2 no-hitters, pitched for 4 World Series champs, dead at 78

Ken Holtzman

Ken Holtzman, a left-hander who threw two no-hitters for the Chicago Cubs and played on four World Series champions, died Sunday. He was 78.

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The St. Louis native, who pitched for 15 seasons in the major leagues, had been battling heart issues and was hospitalized for three weeks before his death, his brother, Bob Holtzman, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Born in St. Louis on Nov. 3, 1945, Holtzman was chosen by the Cubs in the fourth round of the first MLB Draft in 1965 out of the University of Illinois, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

The hard-throwing southpaw was compared to Sandy Koufax, another Jewish left-hander. Holtzman ended his career as the winningest Jewish pitcher in MLB history with 174 victories, nine ahead of Koufax, according to MLB.com.

Holtzman went 174-150 with a 3.49 ERA and 1,601 strikeouts in 451 games with the Cubs (1965-71, 1978-79), Oakland Athletics (1972-75), Baltimore Orioles (1976) and New York Yankees (1976-78), ESPN reported.

He was part of a pitching staff that won three World Series titles with the Athletics from 1972 to 1974, and also pitched for the Yankees squad that won the Series. He went 6-4 with a 2.30 ERA in the postseason with a 3-1 mark in the World Series, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

The two-time All-Star is a member of the Cubs’ Hall of Fame. He threw no-hitters against the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 19, 1969, and against the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium on June 3, 1971, The Associated Press reported.

Holtzman and Jake Arrieta are the only Cubs pitchers since 1900 to throw two-hitters, according to the news organization.

The 1969 gem against the Braves is the last MLB no-hitter to be thrown without a strikeout, according to MLB.com.

Holtzman was traded to Oakland for Rick Monday after the 1971 season and responded with victory totals of 19, 21, 19 and 18 for the A’s.

In addition to his enshrinement in the Cubs Hall of Fame, Holtzman is a member of the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the Post-Dispatch reported.


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