Farewell to the Ol' Lefthander

Friday, November 16 2007 @ 10:06 AM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

You may know Joe Nuxhall's name as the youngest person ever to play major league baseball -- as a wartime replacement player in 1944 at the age of 15 years, 10 months, 11 days.

You may even know his name as that of a two-time All-Star pitcher in the 1950s and winner of 135 big league games -- sort of a left-handed Rick Wise.

Me? I'll always remember the sound of Nuxy's voice ...

... coming through the transistor radio under my pillow at night as I grew up in Ohio. Along with his broadcast partner of nearly 30 years, Marty Brennamen, Nuxhall was the voice of the Big Red Machine, the most fearsome National League ballclub of my lifetime. Sure, Bench, Perez and Morgan (and that Rose guy) were the faces of the team -- but Joe and Marty were its voices and in many ways, its heart and soul.

There were two Nuxhall catchphrases. At the end of each Reds victory, as the final out was recorded, he would exclaim "And this one belongs to the Reds!" Then, at the end of the post-game broadcast, as he signed off following scores and updates from around the majors, Nuxhall would always say, "This is the old lefthander, rounding third and heading for home."

Joe Nuxhall was a fine major league pitcher, but he was the voice of two generations of Ohio baseball fans, and it's no exaggeration to say Nuxhall, who passed away last night at the age of 79,  belonged to all of us. And now, finally, he's rounded third that one final time and headed for home.

Thanks, Joe.