Ken Holtzman, former pitcher for the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics, dies

(Chicago) Ken Holtzman, the winningest Jewish pitcher in major league baseball history, authored two no-hit games with the Chicago Cubs before helping the Oakland Athletics win three World Series sharpened in the early 1970s, died. He was 78 years old.

Cubs officials announced the news via social media on Monday.

Holtzman’s brother, Bob Holtzman, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he died Sunday evening after being hospitalized for three weeks. He was battling heart problems.

Holtzman grew up in the St. Louis area and starred at the University of Illinois before being selected as a two-time all-star. The left-hander went 174-150 with a 3.49 ERA from 1965 to 1979 with the Cubs, Athletics, Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees.

Holtzman won nine more games than Los Angeles Dodgers great Sandy Koufax, who went 165-87 in 12 seasons.

Holtzman played his first seven years with the Cubs, a period during which he had back-to-back 17-win seasons and pitched scoreless games against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field on August 19, 1969, and faced to the Cincinnati Reds, June 3, 1971.

His no-hitter game against the Braves remains the most recent to have been completed without a single strikeout.

Holtzman was traded to the Athletics for Rick Monday after the 1971 season and joined Vida Blue and Jim “Catfish” Hunter in a rotation that helped California win the World Series in three straight seasons starting from 1972.

He was named to the All-Star teams in 1972 and 1973, a year in which he won 21 games, a career high.

Holtzman was traded to the Baltimore Orioles along with Reggie Jackson on April 2, 1976, then to the New York Yankees during the same season.

He earned another championship ring with the Yankees in 1977, although he did not make the playoffs. He was traded to the Cubs during the 1978 season.

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