Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Remembering a Legend

Editor's Note - Wednesday November 15, 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of our beloved "Nuxy". Dan Howard, Redlegs Review staff writer, submitted this post to honor the occasion. This article, written as a letter to the editor, appeared in several newspapers in Eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia the week after Joe Nuxhall's death.

The news of Joe Nuxhall's passing has deeply saddened me and, I'm sure, all Cincinnati Reds fans worldwide. I agree with Jamie Johnson, a radio personality at Reds on Radio affiliate WMDJ Radio, in Martin KY, when he said we all lost an uncle today. Being left-handed "Uncle Joe" and I had something in common. Yeah, he was an uncle alright, an uncle that made you actually look forward to his visits. An uncle that captivated me for nearly forty years, whose words either made me laugh, or cry, filled me with joy, or brought me to anger, depending on the situation he was describing.

Oh the wonderful stories he shared! He spoke of men named Pete, Bobby, and Tony. He described of a Big Red Machine that was so powerful, it rolled over all who dared to stop it. "Uncle Joe" once talked about a skinny man named Davey who once drove a baseball so far it was considered a Goliath blast. All who witnessed it were seeing red. He told the story of a catcher named Joe who felled the mighty Athletics with one swing of his stick. I still get chills every time I hear that one. My favorite story was the one about a man named Johnny Bench, who thought he was so fast he could run around all the bases and get home without being caught. "He's gonna make it!" "Uncle Joe" shouted, "He's gonna make it!" "Uncle Joe" cried again. I just knew Johnny was going to make it, until "Uncle Joe" proclaimed "He's...not gonna make it!", and then described how Johnny was "gunned" down before he got home. My goodness "Uncle Joe" told thousands of stories similar to these and I loved every last one of them!   

 I prayed when I found out "Uncle Joe" had cancer, and thanked God with him when the operation was successful. Prayed again after his heart attack and was once again grateful to the Almighty when I heard his voice after the ordeal. When he told me he had finally had enough and was retiring, I wept. When the day of his retirement came I cried even more. Although he would visit less frequently over the past few years I was thankful for the visits I got. When I heard my "Uncle Joe" got sick earlier this week I just knew he would be O.K., and visit me again next spring.

At the end of each story "Uncle Joe" would close by saying that he was "rounding third and heading for home", but I knew he would return shortly with more stories. Unfortunately he rounded third for the final time and is telling his stories to another audience. I am eternally grateful that for forty of my forty-four years on this earth "Uncle" Joe Nuxhall was a part of my life. Although I never met him personally, I've known him all my life.

Dan Howard
Kermit W.V.