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Ex-major league pitcher Joe Niekro dies at age 61

Updated: October 28, 2006, 6:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- Former major league pitcher Joe Niekro, Houston's career victory leader, died Friday, Astros president Tal Smith said. He was 61.

 Niekro

The two-time 20-game winner suffered a brain aneurysm Thursday and was taken to South Florida Baptist Hospital in nearby Plant City, where he lived. He later was transferred to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he died.

"It came as a real shock to us," Smith said. "He was a great guy. He had a real spark and a great sense of ...

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