Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1953 TOPPS JOE NUXHALL



NUXY'S PLACE IN HISTORY IS SECURE.



'53s MUST HAVE BEEN EASY TO COLLATE.



THE FRONT PAGE

  • Joe Nuxhall holds the distinction of being the youngest pitcher in modern major-league history, getting into one game for the Reds in 1944 at the age of 15 years, 316 days. How could a ninth-grader -- albeit one standing 6-2 and weighing 190 pounds -- end up pitching two-thirds of an inning? It was wartime, and the majors were in dire need of players, of whom only those rejected or too old or young for military service were eligible. Nuxy fit the bill as a prospect despite being only a freshman at Hamilton High School in Ohio.

THE BACK PAGE

  • The write up succinctly details Nuxhall's fascinating story and place in history.
  • The backs of the '53s are just so readable and pleasant to look at, aren't they?

PHOTO PLAY

  • And the only thing better about the '53s, of course, are the front design and the portrait artwork. Museum quality.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Nuxhall was playing semipro with his dad when Reds scouts started following him in '43.
  • What they saw was a raw youngster with a live left arm but little control.
  • With the blessing of his high school principal, Nuxhall signed and made the Reds' Opening-Day roster and his debut on June 10, four days after the D-Day Invasion, against the Cardinals, who were leading 13-0 at Crosley Field. He entered in the ninth inning and retired the first batter. He couldn't get out of the inning, surrendering five runs on five walks, two hits and one wild pitch. Of those lacing a hit was Stan Musial.
  • "I was pitching against seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders, kids 13- and 14-years-old. ... All the sudden I look up and there's Stan Musial and the likes. It was a very scary situation,'' Nuxhall recalled. 
  • Sent to the minors and pitched there for the rest of the '44 season.
  • In '45, Nuxhall decided to finish high school and was able to regain his amateur status. He returned to the minors after graduation and made his second appearance with the Reds in '52, and this time he stuck around.
  • Pitched 15 of his 16 seasons with the Reds, posting a 135-117 record with a 3.90 ERA.
  • Made the NL All-Star team in '55, when he won a career-high 17 games and led the league with five shutouts, and in '56.
  • Established a Reds record for games pitched with 484, which was broken by right-hander Clay Carroll in '75. The Ol' Left-hander still holds the record for southpaws. 
  • After his career ended in '66, he immediately became a broadcaster with the Reds.
  • Being from Tampa, which was the spring training home of the Reds, I listened to a lot of games on the radio growing up and remember Nuxhall's grandfatherly tone and signature sign-off: "This is The Ol' Left-Hander, rounding third and heading for home.''
  • Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati has that quote hanging outside the stadium along with a statue of Nuxy. Other statues include Johnny Bench, Frank Robinson, Ted Kluszewski and Ernie Lombardi.
  • Officially retired from the Reds in '04, ending a 60-year association with the Reds.
  • Died after a long battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in '07.

1 comment:

  1. Just a great, great baseball card. Nice write-up.

    ReplyDelete