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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Nuxie dies

Joe Nuxhall, Reds legend, died last night at 10:55 p.m.

It is with great sadness that I write this. Nuxie was as a good as they come. Humble, caring and always a joy to be around. He'll be greatly missed. Prayers and thoughts to his family.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The last time I talked to Nuxhall in any kind of depth was when word got out that his cancer was back. He was, of course, upbeat.

"I hope I can lick this," he said. "With all the publicity it's getting, maybe others who have it will be encouraged. Maybe people will feel they can beat it, too."

Nux didn't beat it. But others should still be encouraged by how he fought the brave fight, how he never let it get him down. When we had that conversation -- it was Sept. 27 -- Nuxie answered the questions about his the disease, and then quickly changed the subject back to baseball. We chatted a while. Before I left, I asked if he was going to do a book signing he had scheduled in a couple of days.

He said he was.

"I'm not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself," he said.

Of course, he wasn't. Nuxie was of those guys who knew what a great life he had, and he was very thankful for it. I'm thankful that I got to know the man.

From his family:

“On behalf of the entire Nuxhall family we wish to express our deepest gratitude for the tremendous outpouring of prayers, well wishes, cards and messages during this very difficult time. Dad felt that he truly had three extended families during his career....The great City of Hamilton, Ohio where he grew up.....Fairfield, Ohio where he raised his children and Cincinnati, Ohio where he was able to play and broadcast the great game of baseball with the Cincinnati Reds. We will be eternally grateful to the Cincinnati Reds organization and the fans who provided us with experiences and memories of a lifetime. Dad truly loved you all."

Respectfully, Kim Nuxhall


at 7:32 AM Blogger Wally's World of Sports said...

When I was diagnosed with blood cancer earlier this year, I didn't have to look far to find inspiration to summon the courage to fight the disease. On my right arm was a red wristband, inscribed with a simple message: Rounding third and heading for home. For a 19 year old college student, I had a great role model and childhood hero in Joe Nuxhall. As I sit at my desk, now 4 months into remission, I'm flooded with memories of west coast road trips during which I stayed up half the night waiting to hear the words now displayed constantly on my wrist. Thanks for the memories Joe. I hope your smiling now that you finally made it home.

Damon Wallace Hawkins
University of Kentucky, by way of Fort Thomas

at 7:36 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Ole' Lefthander rounding third and heading for Heaven. We'll miss ya Nux.


at 7:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, in one short paragraph you've caught the sentiments of many.
My favorite Nuxie memory was watching Nuxie face Sandy Koufax in Sept. of 1967 at Crosley on a Saturday night. Reds lost, but talk about two great southpaws.

at 7:43 AM Blogger cincikid said...

My heart cries for his family. He will always be missed by my dad and I.

at 7:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a loss for all of us Reds fan. But it's a terrible loss for his family. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

My grandma had a crush on him and would listen every night to the Reds up in nothern Ohio. Spending a few weeks with her every summer I never realized back then how much Joe formed my passion for the Reds by simply listening to the game.

I will sorely miss hearing his calls.

at 8:15 AM Anonymous MONEY MIKE said...

My thoughts are with his family for their loss.

I can remember listening to Nuxie throughout my days as a Reds fan. My dad would never stop talking about how great of man he was and my grandfather actually watched him play in the day.

at 8:34 AM Anonymous Gary in CT said...

Somehow today I just feel a whole lot older and much sadder...childhood for me will always be 11:00 games on the west coast, transitor radio tucked under my pillow, and the 'Ol Lefthander telling the very best baseball stories. There will never be another like him.

at 8:38 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the greats...


at 8:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, what a sad day in Cincinnati. Summers growing up meant Reds radio and Reds radio was Marty & Joe. It's never going to be the same without him.

Let's get Joe into the Hall of Fame, guys. Let's do it for him.

Channel 48 did a show with Joe a couple years ago. I wonder if they'll show it again now. Their blog has an entry on there and they got a link to where you can watch an episode online. But no other news.


at 9:19 AM Anonymous mikec said...

As someone who grew up listening to Marty and Joe, I feel like I've lost a family member. They read me my bedtime stories...

And now when I would tune in and it would be a game Joe was doing... what a treat.

I'll miss that.

at 9:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad, sad day for anyone who spent their summers as a kid listening to Reds games. I feel like I lost a grandfather. Prayers and thoughts to his family.

at 9:38 AM Blogger Hey Barry Larkin! said...

It's a very sad day in Redleg Nation. Joe, you will sorely be missed. This city loves you and always will.

I agree Max, let's get him into the hall of fame!


at 9:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Nuxhall, great man, good man.
We are all better people because of you.
Enjoy the eternal summer: heaven is yours.

at 10:14 AM Anonymous Monclova Steve said...

Great post about Nuxie.
I feel like Joe and I almost grew up together. I saw him pitch, saw him get traded to KC, saw him come back to the Reds.
Nice pitcher! I remember him beating Ken Johnson of the Astros (Colt 45's then) even though Johnson pitched a NO HITTER! Nuxie gave up 3 hits and the Reds won in the 9th 1-0.
He could also swing the bat very well for a pitcher. Great competitor, great team player.
Perhaps most important, he was a tremendous ambassador for the Reds, Cincinnati as a whole, and baseball in general -- not to mention a wonderful role model for everyone.
He just oozed CLASS by the way he treated others.
Sadness can't describe my feelings right now. We've lost a great man, but Heaven has gained one.
Here's to you, Joe. We'll miss you.

at 10:15 AM Blogger kingseyeland said...

Ditto Anon 9:21. I lost both of my grandfathers a few years ago, and now I feel like I've lost a third.

at 10:25 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nuxhall Field at Great American Ballpark?

at 10:36 AM Anonymous Deaner said...

Joe's voice was part of my childhood growing up in southern West Virginia. He will truly be missed but will live on in the memories of thousanda of Reds fans.

at 10:59 AM Blogger Ron said...

I became a Reds fan in 1956 when Joe was in his prime. He was part of my baseball life for over 50 years. Joe always provided special insights into the Reds from their glory days to some of their darker moments. He will be missed.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the Old Lefty could hit a little too. In the day the Reds pitchers prided themselves on hitting.

at 11:18 AM Blogger Dan H said...

Joe was a like your neighbor or best friend while doing the Reds games describing the action and just "down home" talking while giving us play by play,analysis or just another of his many baseball stories. Starting listening to Joe ever since the Reds went to WLW and being from western New York he was the voice of the Reds to out of state fans. Reds radio and Reds baseball will never be the same, he will be missed.

at 11:31 AM Anonymous harold said...

baseball has lost a truly nice man and advocate of the game...as a prostate cancer survivor myself i can relate to his trials, but he was always upbeat and positive..whata guy!!!!prayers to his family...

at 11:44 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 46 & a life long Reds' fan. I can't imagine a season without the
ole' lefthander. Joe thanks for a
lifetime on memories.

--Rob in Louisville

at 1:32 PM Anonymous Gary214 said...

The very first game I saw live was one in which Joe pitched...I remember we lost but the guy pitched the whole game and battled his heart out...what an impression he made on me! I was playing catch with my dad the next day and asked him to teach me how to throw lefthanded, cuz I wanted to be like Joe.

I actually did learn to throw with both hands, and tho it never really helped me with baseball...my high school basketball coach sure was thankful! As a junior in a KY district playoff game, I had injured my right shoulder in the
3rd quarter, but I stayed in the game and actually scored 9 points during our 4th qtr. comEback win...LEFTHANDED! My dad met me outside the locker room after the game, looked me square in the eye and told me "you owe that one to Nuxie"! I will never forget that...and I will always treasure the memories of watching, and listening to, Joe!

Today, Heaven just got a little better!

at 3:38 PM Anonymous CHEVIOT SPORTS AUTHORIY said...

Forget about the Great American Ball Park. Just Joe Nuxhall Field would be wonderful.

at 7:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evryone who wants Nuxhall's number retired, say AYE!

at 12:19 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who never heard Marty and Joe during those beautiful summers leading up to the magical season of 1990, really missed the top baseball broadcasting team of the 20th century at their peak.

It all goes by so fast.

I hope Marty can stay well past his current contract.

at 9:43 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the idea of naming the field after him.

Was he the greatest player to put on a Reds uniform? Not really.

But when you think Cincinnati Reds, and you had any association with the franchise in the last 50 years, there is one name you think about - and that is Joe Nuxhall.

To not permanently name some aspect of the franchise after him would to be to deny the very identity of the teams soul.

at 11:29 AM Anonymous ADMS said...

Joe's true grit during his battles with cancer and heart problems just shows how tough and determined he was. I second (and third and so on) that the Reds have to name some part or the whole ballpark after Nuxie. 60 years with the Reds is amazing. I do hope the Hall of Fame looks at his teenage pitching and how he never gave up...and his record and ERA wasn't that bad! (Heck, we want those numbers now from someone not named Harang and Arroyo!)
I have to say that we are feeling what Chicago felt when they lost Harry Carey. Harry, Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, Marty and Joe - a city's sports scene can be defined by those who broadcast it. Opening Day is going to be mixed - another season starts with hope and promises for October, but Joe won't be next to Marty. I can only hope that the Cincinnati Reds community gives the Reds and fans the proper celebration of the man who best showed the rest of the country what the Reds were.

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