Home Features AZ Giving Efforts of The Joe Niekro Foundation

The Joe Niekro Foundation is dedicated to raising funds in order to educate the general public and aid in the research and treatment of aneurysm.

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Joe Niekro was a major league baseball pitcher between the years of 1967 to 1988, and was first drafted by the Chicago Cubs  where he left a mark with his fastball and slider going 24-17. His love and passion for the game was certainly undeniable, however, Niekro is most remembered for his days with the Houston Astros. With the Astros, over half his career innings and wins were accomplished which led to the most successful season of his career. 

In 1979, during the final week of the season for the National League West Division title, Niekro was 21-11, tying in lead victories with his brother Phil. During the following year, Niekro was 20-12 and became the first Houston pitcher to win 20 games in a season, twice!

After his retirement in 1988, Niekro spent most of his time helping and training his son Lance to pursue his baseball career, and in 2005, Niekro was inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame.

On October 26, 2006, Niekro suffered a cerebral brain aneurysm that lasted 18 excruciating hours, and lead to the loss of his life the following day. A cerebral aneurysm is caused by a weak spot in a blood vessel in the brain that causes it to fill with blood. This puts pressure on the surrounding brain tissue and can cause spilling.

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After the death of her father, Natalie Niekro, Joe’s daughter, founded the Joe Niekro Foundation in 2007 in his honor. It was the astonishing lack of awareness and under-support of research for this widespread and fatal condition that led Natalie to start this foundation to educate and encourage awareness about brain aneurysms and their impact. 

Her goal is to, “Develop awareness programs and educational materials for hospital, treatment centers and neurological institutions worldwide,” said Natalie. 

For more information and to read powerful survival stories click here.