Monday, November 2, 2020

#282 Joe Nuxhall

Joe Nuxhall  Cincinnati Reds

Career: Lefty Joe Nuxhall made his MLB debut with the Reds at 15(!) in 1944. He then hit the reset button and spent seven years honing his craft for a more normal big league rookie experience in 1952. He pitched for 14 seasons (not counting that 1944 appearance) and pitched in over 530 games, about half as a starter.

He had a fine record with a 135-117 w/l and a career 3.90 ERA. Nuxhall took a couple of detours (through KC, Baltimore* and LA) in between his two long stretches in Cincinnati. He led the NL with five shutouts among his 17 wins in 1955 and twice made the NL All-Star team. 

Nuxhall worked as a broadcaster after his playing days and served as the Reds informal 'pre-game' coach for many years hitting fungoes and pitching BP.

*=He was with the Orioles in Spring Training in 1962 after being released by the Athletics but was sold to the Angels right around Opening Day. Nuxhall never pitched for the O's in a 'real' game. He lasted only five games with the Halos. He was back with the Reds later that summer after a spin through the PCL where he claims he learned to harness his temper and his fastball.

In 1960: Nuxhall ended his first stint with the Reds this year. He'd lost his spot in the rotation and moved to the bullpen. His 4.42 ERA and zero saves led to a trade to the Athletics at years end. But he'd return a few years later.

Off The Charts: Nuxhall, who became a much beloved figure in Cincinnati during his long tenure as part of their radio team, is always associated with the novelty of his debuting at 15 in 1944. What isn't well known is that the Reds initially were looking to shore up their war-depleted team by signing Orville Nuxhall, Joe's father. The elder Nuxhall, a former semi-pro star, had five kids at that point and not surprisingly passed on the opportunity. The Reds then turned to the junior-high-aged Joe. Fun details and videos can be found here.

And here's something interesting...if you check his Baseball-Reference page it shows this line for his 1946 season: Did not play in major or minor leagues (Voluntarily Retired). 'Voluntarily Retired'...he was 17. 😄 Maybe he was afraid he'd miss his prom.

The Card: Another Seals Stadium shot. And, as you may have noticed, it's signed by Nuxhall. This was part of a crop of signed cards I bought cheap from a longtime dealer and friend when he closed his shop a few years ago. 

Bonus Coverage: A neat video from a Cincy TV station newscast that delves into Nuxhall's debut and more. Well worth the two minutes.

1 comment:

  1. 15 years old and facing MLB batters. That's pretty darn cool.