June 1, 2013
To say Joe Nuxhall is one of the most famous individuals ever affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds is an understatement. “Nuxy” was one of those personalities who enjoyed overwhelming popularity. That popularity seemed to increase as the years passed, even beyond his death November 15, 2007 at the age of 79.
As a left-handed pitcher for the Reds, Joe entered the record books by appearing in a game in June 1944, about two months before his 16th birthday, making him the youngest ever player to appear in a big league game. After reappearing in the big leagues in 1952, Nuxhall enjoyed a 15-season Reds' Hall of Fame playing career—all but one season as a Red. During the 1960s, “Hamilton” Joe also tinkered in radio, announcing basketball games for nearby Miami University. His interest in play-by-play inspired him to approach the Reds for a job as a color analyst when his playing days were over. That opportunity came in 1967 when Nuxhall showed up to spring training as a player but left as a radio interviewer, after he decided to hang up his cleats. He was added as a “third man in the booth” to principle announcers Claude Sullivan and Jim McIntyre. Joe's first task was to transform from “teammate” into an unbiased announcer and while he never quite lost that devotion to the Reds, his cheerleading style and unabashed loyalty actually endeared him to fans. It was a refreshing alternative to the strict, straight-laced announce style elsewhere. In time, Sullivan passed away from cancer and McIntyre and Al Michaels came and went and in 1974, Joe was teamed with a young, fresh, newly minted Reds play-buy-play voice: Marty Brennaman. The team of “Marty and Joe” became a baseball institution, lasting 31-seasons. Indeed, the pair became so intertwined, it was a shock to listeners when Joe retired at the end of the 2004 season and Marty was teamed with others. For his 60-years of service to the Reds as player and announcer, Joe Nuxhall was awarded just about every honor, including a statue in from of the ballpark. His generosity over the years lives on in the Joe Nuxhall Character Education Fund.
Find more biographies from this series: Cincinnati Reds Broadcasters