Ken Holtzman, MLB’s winningest Jewish pitcher who won 3 World Series with Oakland, has died at 78

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CHICAGO (AP) — Ken Holtzman, MLB’s winningest Jewish pitcher who threw two no-hitters for the Chicago Cubs and helped the Oakland Athletics win three straight World Series championships in the 1970s, has died, the Cubs announced Monday on social media. He was 78.

Holtzman’s brother Bob Holtzman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he died Sunday night after being hospitalized for three weeks. He had been battling heart issues.

Holtzman grew up in the St. Louis area and starred at the University of Illinois before becoming a two-time All-Star. The left-hander posted a 174-150 record and 3.49 ERA from 1965 to 1979 with the Athletics, Cubs, New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.

Holtzman won nine more games than the Dodgers’ great Sandy Koufax, who was 165-87 over 12 seasons.

Holtzman played his first seven years with the Cubs, a stretch that included back-to-back 17-win seasons and no-hitters against Atlanta at Wrigley Field on Aug. 19, 1969, and at Cincinnati on June 3, 1971. His no-hitter against Atlanta remains the most recent in the majors thrown without a strikeout.

Holtzman got traded to Oakland for Rick Monday following the 1971 season and joined Vida Blue and Catfish Hunter in a rotation that helped the Athletics win three straight World Series starting in 1972. He made All-Star teams in 1972 and 1973, when he won a career-high 21 games.

Holtzman was dealt to Baltimore along with Reggie Jackson on April 2, 1976, and traded again that season to the New York Yankees. He got another championship ring with the Yankees in 1977, though he did not appear in the playoffs, and was traded back to Chicago during the 1978 season.

The Cubs’ social media post said they are “deeply saddened” and “send our condolences to Ken’s family and friends during this time.”

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