09/18/2004 8:15 PM ET
Reds honor Nuxhall in ceremony
Celebration of six decades as player and broadcaster
By Todd Lorenz / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- With the way Joe Nuxhall's career started, it's hard to believe how well it's gone.
|An emotional Joe Nuxhall speaks to the crowd in a pregame ceremony honoring him. (Al Behrman/AP)
Just 50 days shy of his 16th birthday, the Ol' Left-hander gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning.
A little more than 60 years later, the Reds honored Nuxhall for more than six decades of service as a player and radio broadcaster with an on-field ceremony prior to their game with the Cubs on Saturday at Great American Ball Park.
"I've tried to find a way to prepare for it," Nuxhall said prior to the ceremony. "I haven't been able to do that. I guess I'll just tell them, like I always do, how I feel. I don't know how else to do it."
Nuxhall did, thanking fans and more than 20 friends, family and teammates during the pregame festivities.
Originally, the ceremony was supposed to be a sort of going away for Nuxhall. He had planned to retire following the 2004 season, but he and the club have agreed that he'll be back in some form in 2005.
"This has been a great ride and I'll tell you this, [Reds chief operating officer John Allen] and I talked and it's not really over," Nuxhall said. "We're going to put something together and be here for years to come."
"Nuxy's one of a kind and he means so much," Allen said. "He's been involved in every facet of this organization. As a player, as a broadcaster, as a representative of the Reds, people love him. He's just a great example of what the Reds are all about.
"He's a true ambassador, not only for the Reds, but for baseball. Wherever he goes, he's talking positive and it's a great thing that he's going to continue doing that for us."
Few are happier about it than Reds' Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman, who hosted the ceremony and has spent the last 31 years in the radio booth next to Nuxhall.
"I've often said there is no person in this town more beloved than Nuxhall is. I mean he transcends all walks of life. It doesn't make any difference what kind of field you're in or how successful you are, Joe Nuxhall is going to treat you the same."
-- Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman
"I've often said there is no person in this town more beloved than Nuxhall is," Brennaman said. "I mean he transcends all walks of life. It doesn't make any difference what kind of field you're in or how successful you are, Joe Nuxhall is going to treat you the same.
"I've learned more from Joe about things other than how to broadcast baseball games. I think I've learned how to handle success because I've never seen anybody handle it any better than he does. He puts an emphasis on connecting with the fans."
It's mostly that connection that kept Nuxhall from finishing his tenure with the Reds.
"I didn't want to jump in the ocean and say, 'Well, that's as far as I'm going,'" he explained. "That's the way I'm looking at it. I didn't want to be here for 60 years then say, 'I'll see you later.' That would never work for me."
A good portion of the group honoring Nuxhall at Saturday's ceremony will also be attending the Grand Opening of the Reds' Hall of Fame on Monday, which had Nuxhall as excited as his own celebration.
"To have them all here and know what they're here for and to think about what's going to happen Monday is special," he said. "I think that's going to be great. What a great thrill, all of us going into the Hall of Fame. Everything I've heard is that it's second only to Cooperstown."
Which, according to another Reds legend, is where Nuxhall belongs next.
"Joe is a person that gives you a feeling of what this game's really about," said Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson. "Six decades -- imagine that. And he's never changed. I'm so proud of him, he's the same old guy.
"Myself, if he doesn't go into the Hall of Fame, we're not doing a very good job. He's one of the genuinely likeable guys in baseball."
Todd Lorenz is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.