Saturday, July 25, 2009

#312 Joe Nuxhall

#312 Joe Nuxhall
I'm not entirely sure why Joe Nuxhall is wearing a Hefty bag over his undershirt and under his vest. Maybe it was the fashion of the time.

Fun facts about Joe Nuxhall:

-A Hamilton, OH native, Joe holds the modern major league record as the youngest player, having made his debut at age 15! In 1944, rosters were depleted by the ongoing World War II, and Nuxhall was big for his age (6'2", 190 lbs.), threw hard, and had some semipro experience. So the Reds, losing 13-0 to St. Louis, pushed the youngster into action to mop up...with gruesome results: two-thirds of an inning, five walks, two hits, one wild pitch, and five runs allowed. That was the end of Joe's first season in the bigs.

Joe Nuxhall Tribute

-After regaining his amateur status, Joe finished high school and then came back to the Reds organization. It would be 1952 before he'd see the major leagues again, at the ripe old age of 23.

-He pitched effectively in a variety of roles in Cincinnati, exceeding thirty starts only twice and doing whatever the team asked of him. His 3.22 ERA (mostly in relief) as a rookie was one of the lowest marks of his career.

-Was selected as an All-Star in back-to-back seasons (1955-1956), going a combined 30-23 with a 3.58 ERA and 6 saves. He led the National League with five shutouts in 1955.

-Tied a record on August 11, 1959, by striking out four Braves in the sixth inning (Eddie Mathews, Joe Adcock, Del Crandall, and Johnny Logan). Catcher Dutch Dotterer dropped the third strike to Crandall, who then reached first base safely.

-Began to suffer arm trouble in 1960, and spent the next couple years bouncing from the Reds to the Athletics to the Orioles to the Angels. Things got so bad that Nuxhall, a career .198 hitter with 15 home runs, considered reinventing himself as a pinch hitting specialist.

-Turned things around after coming back to the Reds in late 1962, going 5-0 in a dozen games and setting the stage for his 15-8 record with a 2.61 ERA and 14 complete games the following year.

-Retired at age 37 before the 1967 season as the Reds' all-time leader in games pitched (484, later surpassed by Clay Carroll). In parts of 16 seasons, he went 135-117 with a 3.90 ERA, and was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame a year after hanging up his spikes.

-Gained even more popularity in his second career as a member of the Reds' radio and TV broadcast team (1967-2004). He spent most of those years paired with play-by-play man Marty Brennaman, and his trademark signoff was, "This is the old left-hander, rounding third and heading for home".

-Joe died two years ago after suffering from cancer and pneumonia. The Reds honored him by all wearing his #41 on Opening Day, 2008 and continued to wear black "Nuxy" patches on their jerseys for the entire season.
#312 Joe Nuxhall (back)

1 comment:

  1. Like many kids of my generation, to me the Reds were Joe 's voice on the radio. I met him a couple times and he was always nice to chat with.

    As a pitcher in the 1950's, Joe had quite the temper. My Dad would tell me stories of Joe coming into the dugout after a rough inning. He said you hear Joe slam his glove up againest the dugout wall and curse up a storm.

    It still seems strange to me, to turn on a Reds game and not hear Joe's voice. He was one of a kind.