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Former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar dies at 72

Mike Cuellar, one of the greatest players in Baltimore Orioles history, died Friday at Orlando Regional Medical Center. He was 72.

Cuellar suffered a steady decline of health since mid-January: a brain aneurysm, followed by the removal of his gall bladder, which preceded cancer in the stomach.

A lefthanded master of the screwball, Cuellar was as one of the best pitchers in baseball in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He won 20 or more games four times between 1969 and 1974. Cuellar, nicknamed "Crazy Horse" won the Cy Young award in 1969, and was selected to the All-Star Game four times in his career.

Cuellar closed out the 1970 World Series with a win in Game 5 against Cincinnati.

He was part of a fabled Orioles staff that featured four 20-game winners in 1971 - Cuellar, Dave McNally, Jim Palmer and Pat Dobson. That rotation would carry the Orioles to three American League pennants, five playoff appearances and three World Series. Because of specialization in the game today, that likely will never happen again.

"He was an artist," former Orioles manager Earl Weaver said Friday. "He could pitch a game in 85 pitches, and he might not throw his best fastball twice. "

Originally from Santa Clara, Cuba, Cuellar was 185-130 overall with a 3.14 ERA in a career that started in 1959 with Cincinnati and ended in 1977 with the Angels.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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