Former Cardinal Briles dies at 61

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

PITTSBURGH -- Nellie Briles, who won two World Series titles during his 14-year career as a major league pitcher, died Sunday, the Pittsburgh Pirates said. He was 61.

Briles died suddenly while at a Pirates alumni golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., team spokesman Dan Hart said. He said he did not know the cause of death.

"The Pirates family is deeply saddened by Nellie's passing, and our thoughts are with his wife, Ginger, their children and grandchildren. Nellie was a valuable member of the Pirates organization for many years," Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy said in a statement released by the team.

Briles helped the St. Louis Cardinals to a championship in 1967, going 14-5 with a 2.43 ERA and beating Boston 5-2 in Game 3 of the World Series. He also played a key role in Pittsburgh's 1971 title run, pitching a two-hit shutout in Game 5 against Baltimore.

Born Aug. 5, 1943, in Dorris, Calif., Briles also pitched for Kansas City, Texas and Baltimore in a big league career that lasted from 1965-78. He was 129-112 with a 3.44 ERA and 22 saves.

Briles spent his first six years in the majors with the Cardinals, going 19-11 in 1968 and 15-13 the following season. After dropping to 6-7 in 1970, he went to the Pirates for the next three years. At Kansas City, he was 5-7 in 1974 and 6-6 in 1975.

The Pirates' popular vice president of corporate projects and president of the alumni association, Briles was honored with the Pride of the Pirates award at the team's home opener last season. The award was created in 1990 to recognize lifetime service to the club.

Services will be held in Greensburg, Pa., but the date and other details had not been determined, Hart said.

Briles is survived by his wife, Ginger, four children and several grandchildren.

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