Friday, November 16, 2007

Joe Nuxhall 1928-2007

In our memory banks are friendly voices from our youth who remind us of the joy of living.

One of those voices from my youth passed away last night--Cincinnati Reds radio announcer Joe Nuxhall.

Like most boys growing up in Cincinnati during the 1970's, I was a huge baseball fan. I collected baseball cards, played on a knothole team, and cheered for the Reds. Actually, I lived and died for the Reds. They were my team, still are.

Joe Nuxhall, along with play-by-play announcer Marty Brennaman, were the soundtrack of my Cincinnati summers. Joe had a folky, relaxed way of describing the game. He was the perfect antidote to Marty. Together, they called Reds game for 31 years.

During the 1970's, the Cincinnati Reds were the team of decade-- the Big Red Machine. Joe and Marty told us all about it: how Joe Morgan stole another base, how Davy Concepcion made an incredible throw from short, how Johnny Bench blocked home plate, how Pete Rose hustled out a single into a double, how Tony Perez knocked in another RBI, how the Reds beat the Red Sox in that glorious 1975 World Series, and how they swept in Yankees in 1976.

This past July I went back to Cincinnati for vacation and got to hear Joe on the radio one last time. The Reds weren't very good, but it didn't matter. It was just nice hearing Joe's voice.

Win or lose, at the end of every broadcast, Joe would wrap-up his show with, "This is the Ol' left hander rounding third and heading for home." Today, I can't help but think how in death, there's no better home than heaven, for this is where the Lord resides.

Nuxhall was 79. He's survived by his wife and two children.

Thanks Mr. Nuxhall. You made my youth rich with memories.

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