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Ken Holtzman, Who Pitched Two No-Hitters, Is Dead at 78

Ken Holtzman, a left-hander who pitched two no-hitters for the Chicago Cubs and won three World Series with the Oakland A’s in a 15-season career, died on Monday in St. Louis. He was 78.

He had been hospitalized for the last three weeks with heart and respiratory illnesses, his brother, Bob, said in confirming the death.

Holtzman won 174 games, the most for a Jewish pitcher in Major League Baseball — nine more than the Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, who is considered one of the best pitchers ever and who had a shorter career.

In addition to his win total, Holtzman, who at 6 feet 2 inches and 175 pounds cut a lanky figure, had a career earned run average of 3.49 and was chosen for the 1972 and 1973 All-Star teams.

Holtzman, at 23, threw his first no-hitter on Aug. 19, 1969, a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves — a performance distinguished by the fact that he didn’t strike out any Braves. It was the first time since 1923 that a no-hitter had been pitched without a strikeout.

“I didn’t have my good curve, and I must have thrown 90 percent fastballs,” Holtzman told The Atlanta Constitution afterward. “When I saw my curve wasn’t breaking early in the game, I thought it might be a long day.”

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