Nelson Briles (August 5, 1943 - February 13, 2005) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1965-70), Pittsburgh Pirates (1971-73), Kansas City Royals (1974-75), Texas Rangers (1976-77) and Baltimore Orioles (1977-78). A native of Dorris, California, he played Collegiate ball for the University of Santa Clara. Briles batted and threw right handed.
In a 14-year career, Briles compiled a 129-112 record with a 3.44 ERA in 2111 innings pitched. A finesse control pitcher, he posted a respectable 2.126 strikeout-to-walk ratio (1163-to-547).
Briles began his major league career with the Cardinals basically as a reliever and occasional starter. In 1967, he was promoted into the starting rotation after Bob Gibson suffered a broken leg when hit by a Roberto Clemente line drive. Briles responded winning nine straight games, led the National League in winning percentage (.737, 14-4) and the Cardinals staff in ERA (2.43). He also tossed a complete game for the Cardinals in Game 3 of their 1967 World Series win over the Red Sox.
In 1968 Briles won 19 games (a career-high) and 15 in 1969, but he slumped badly in the next two years. Before the 1971 season, the Cardinals traded Briles, along with Vic Davalillo to the Pirates for Matty Alou and George Brunet. He was 8-4 for the Pirates that season and pitched a complete-game two-hit shutout against Baltimore in Game 5 of the 1971 World Series. Briles won 14 in 1972 and 1973, and was sent to Kansas City. He also pitched with Texas and finished his career with the Orioles.
Following his retirement as a player, Briles returned to Pittsburgh and became a television spotscaster in 1979. He went to work for the organization in 1986 as director of corporate sales and he was also the director of the Pirates' annual fantasy camp.
Briles collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack in Orlando, Florida, while participating in the annual Pirates alumni golf tournament. He was 61.