Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro, 21 of his 24 years in the majors with the Braves, died Saturday. This is what is being said across baseball about the knuckleballer:

“We are heartbroken on the passing of our treasured friend, Phil Niekro. Knucksie was woven into the Braves fabric, first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta. Phil baffled batters on the field and later was always the first to join in our community activities. It was during those community and fan activities where he would communicate with fans as if they were long lost friends.

“He was a constant presence over the years, in our clubhouse, our alumni activities and throughout Braves Country and we will forever be grateful for having him be such an important part of our organization.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Nancy, sons Philip, John and Michael and his two grandchildren Chase and Emma.”

-Statement from Atlanta Braves

“He was the greatest. There’s not an adjective or word to describe how special he was and what he meant to not only the Braves organization but anyone who was around him, he made you feel like you were the only hall of famer in the building. That is something that he will always be known for is the way he made you smile, the way he made you feel, it’s sad. Because he doesn’t get any better. He’s one of those guys that you would never know he was a Hall of Famer and he treated you like a Hall of Famer.

-John Smoltz

“You just don’t hear many people if any ever say anything bad about him. I’ve never heard anybody say they didn’t like Knucksie. That says a lot. when you’re an athlete or celebrity to some extent, there will inevitably be people who don’t like you for whatever reason, even though they don’t know you. But you never heard that about Knucksie. Everybody loved him.”

-Tom Glavine

“One of the nicest guys I’ve ever been around. I missing sitting in Bill Acree’s office hearing his stories.”

-Greg Maddux

“What I really liked about him, was when I was a minor league coach and he was in the big leagues and one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, he treated me like he’d known me all his life and I was just as important as a minor league coach as a big league coach. He always made you feel comfortable around him. He was a superstar but you would have never known it.”

-Leo Mazzone

“When I made it to big leagues he was so happy that I was there. It was amazing because he saw me for the first time in the minor leagues and he was calling me by my first name. I was like ‘How does he know my name?’ He sees me and says hi in front of people and that made me feel important. I will never forget him.”

-Eddie Perez

“So sad today. Phil Neikro helped me in a profound way to change the course of my career and life. I was perpetually moved by his kindness, wisdom, and sense of humor. What a man! He will be missed. Thank you Phil!”

-R.A. Dickey

“RIP my friend.”

-Andruw Jones

“Nancy and I are deeply saddened by the news today of the passing of Phil Niekro. Knucksie was one of a kind. Friend, teammate, father and husband. Our hearts go out to Nancy Niekro, the kids and grandkids. So thankful for our memories and time together. We’ll miss you, Knucksie.”

-Dale Murphy

“Phil Niekro was one of the most distinctive and memorable pitchers of his generation. In the last century, no pitcher threw more than Phil’s 5,404 innings. His knuckleball led him to five All-Star selections, three 20-win seasons for the Atlanta Braves, the 300-win club, and ultimately, to Cooperstown.

“But even more than his signature pitch and trademark durability, Phil will be remembered as one of our game’s most genial people. He always represented his sport extraordinarily well, and he will be deeply missed. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my condolences to Phil’s family, friends and the many fans he earned throughout his life in our national pastime.”

– Statement from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred