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Rounding Third And Heading For Home

Posted by Matt on November 16, 2007

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It is a sad day in Red Leg Nation as long time Reds’ radio broadcaster – one of the best in all of baseball – and former Reds’ pitcher Joe Nuxhall passed away late last night near Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 79 stemming from complications arising during his battle with cancer. The “Ol’ Left-hander” began his relationship with baseball, and the Reds for that matter, on June 10, 1944 just 50 days shy of his 16th birthday. At 15 years, 10 months, and 11 days of age, with the World War II ravaged rosters of the ’40s, Joe became the youngest player to ever suit up for a Major League Baseball team – a record he still holds today – when he took the mound against the Saint Louis Cardinals at Crosley Field for his lone appearance that season. That outing would prove to be the beginning of a 63 year relationship with baseball’s oldest professional team.

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Joe retired as a player from the Reds, and the game of baseball, in 1967 and immediately entered the broadcast booth and this past summer, where Joe worked a limited schedule along side long-time partner Marty Brennaman, marked his 40th year in radio for the Red Legs. With his catch phrase “…and this is the Ol’ Left-hander, rounding third and heading for home…” to end every broadcast, Joe was a constant joy to listen to and the epitome of class in a sport now tarnished with scandals.

I am not one to jump on the personal bandwagons of recently deceased public figures but this is one situation where I can honestly say I grew up listening to Marty and Joe on Reds’ radio broadcasts. For me, the sound of their voices will forever be synonymous with listening to a Reds game on the back porch on a clear summer night with my father. I even found myself, during the majority of this season, turning down the audio on my television and turning up the volume on my radio just to hear Marty and Joe call Reds games a few more times during Joe’s limited work schedule — even if that meant I was able to hear what happened before I saw it thanks to telecast delays.

The Cincinnati Reds and the world of Major League Baseball lost a good one last night and it is too bad that his story will be overshadowed by this morning’s news of Barry Bonds’ indictment from late yesterday afternoon.

God bless you, Joe Nuxhall, you have meant a lot of things to a lot of people for a very long time and you will be missed.

And now you truly are “rounding third and heading for home.”

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