Ken Holtzman, the steady left-handed starter who played a key role on the Oakland A's championship teams of the 1970s, has died at the age of 78. The Chicago Cubs, for whom Holtzman pitched at two different points in his career, on Monday announced his passing: 

A native of St. Louis, Holtzman originally signed with the Cubs out of the University of Illinois after they drafted him in the fourth round of the inaugural MLB draft in 1965. With the Cubs, Holtzman went on to pitch two no-hitters and craft a streak of 33 consecutive scoreless innings in 1969. In 1970, Holtzman topped the 200-strikeout threshold for the first and only time in his career. 

Following the 1971 season, the Cubs traded him to the A's in exchange for outfielder Rick Monday. On Oakland's watch, Holtzman made two All-Star teams, authored a 20-win season in 1973, and served as a rotation stalwart for an A's team that won three straight World Series titles from 1972 through 1974. In four postseasons for Oakland, Holtzman registered an ERA of 2.30 ERA in 12 starts and one relief appearance. In 1973 World Series, Holtzman started Games 1, 4, and 7 against the New York Mets

In 1976, A's owner Charlie Finley traded Holtzman and slugger Reggie Jackson to the Orioles in a six-player blockbuster. Holtzman would later pitch for the Yankees and then return to the Cubs for the final two seasons of his career. With the Yankees in 1977, Holtzman picked up a fourth World Series ring, although he did not pitch in that postseason. 

Across parts of 15 big-league seasons, Holtzman went 174-1500 with an ERA of 3.49 and 1,601 strikeouts in 2,867 1/3 innings. On nine different occasions, he topped 200 innings in a season. Holtzman's 174 wins remain a record for a Jewish pitcher, just ahead of Sandy Koufax's 165. In 2007, Holtzman became a manager for the first season of the Israel Baseball League.