After games, Nuxhall hosted the postgame show and he interviewed players from inside the Reds clubhouse. His signature signoff of "rounding third and heading for home" is adorned in giant lettering on the outer façade of Great American Ball Park.Born on July 30, 1928, in nearby Hamilton, Ohio, Nuxhall will forever be part of baseball history for being the youngest player to appear in a Major League game. With World War II depleting rosters around the league, Nuxhall was 15 years, 10 months and 11 days old when he pitched for the Reds on June 10, 1944. His next game for Cincinnati, where he spent 15 of his 16 Major League seasons, didn't come until 1952. His lifetime record from 1944 and 1952-66, was 135-117 with a 3.90 ERA. He was also a two-time All-Star in 1955-56. "From the outpouring shown throughout the city today, it's evident Joe is the heart of Reds country," Reds owner/CEO Bob Castellini said on Friday. "Joe was the perfect guy to carry hope to the next generation. He carried the hopes and dreams of every 15-year-old on his shoulders when he pitched for the Reds as the youngest player ever to do so." There had been many health problems recently for Nuxhall, who was undergoing chemotherapy since October to treat lymphoma. He was also treated for the disease in February and endured several other cancer battles over the past several years. He was also treated for pneumonia in 2006. Nuxhall was known for his generosity and community efforts, including the Joe Nuxhall Character Education Fund. In turn, the community gave back to him by offering cards and encouragement during his illnesses. People have also gotten behind him during the latest effort to get him into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Ford Frick Award winner. Nuxhall was a finalist in 2006 and is again on the ballot this year. There was a rally to support his candidacy in Hamilton on Wednesday and the public has been encouraged to vote on an online fan ballot. A ballpark tribute to Nuxhall had already begun on Friday morning, with a makeshift memorial at his statue on the front entrance to Great American Ball Park. The stadium will be left dark all night, except for that catch phrase in large letters on the side of the ballpark. Nuxhall will also be recognized at Redsfest on Dec. 7-8, and at Opening Day on March 31, 2008. The NFL's Cincinnati Bengals announced they would have a pregame tribute to Nuxhall before Sunday's game. "Once Spring Training begins and later, Opening Day in Cincinnati, everybody will have him on their minds," Brennaman said. "He's surely the biggest figure in the history of the franchise, not even close. Never will there be a bigger figure of the Cincinnati Reds than Joe Nuxhall."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less