View Full Version : Reds Hall of Fame & Museum offers a Nuxhall tribute opening Saturday

03-21-2008, 11:03 AM
You'll smile, and cry
Reds Hall of Fame & Museum offers a Nuxhall tribute opening Saturday

A new Joe Nuxhall exhibit will generate laughs and tears - just like the man himself - if a sneak preview Thursday is any indication.

The display, titled "The Ol' Lefthander," will be unveiled for the first time tonight in a private ceremony at the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum as a sidelight to "An Evening With Bench and Brennaman."

The Nuxhall exhibit covers a hallway and a room on the second floor of the Reds Hall and goes center stage Saturday when it opens to the public at 10 a.m. It resumes Monday for the duration of 2008.

Admission is the price of a season-long pass to the Hall of Fame and Museum: $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors. Children 5 and under are free.

"Better have some Kleenex ready," said Rick Walls, executive director of the Reds Hall. "We took it so slow; it's one reason we're still working on it. We wanted to make sure the (Nuxhall) family was ready and agreed to it. (Joe's son) Kim said it's great but that he was getting choked up thinking about it."

Although there are signature pieces in the exhibit - such as Nuxhall's microphone, which will be in a display case in the middle of the room, and a 1953 game-worn Reds jersey in a Crosley Field locker in the hallway - much of visitors' time probably will be spent at three stops:

A 40-item set of audio clips from color commentary and interviews featuring Nuxhall, or Nux bantering with longtime broadcast partner Marty Brennaman. Fans can choose however many by title and listen on headphones.

A 10-minute film highlighting the famous Nuxhall humanity that made him a Cincinnati icon.

The fans' homage wall, a huge canvas containing 50 to 60 quotes from people who left messages online immediately upon Nuxhall's passing Nov. 15.

"We could have never come up with a better way to express who Joe was than the eloquence and poignancy of the fans," said Chris Eckes, 35, the museum curator who assembled "The Ol' Lefthander."

"The challenge for us was, how do you take somebody who meant so much to so many people in so many different ways and try to distill all that into this amount of space?" Eckes said.

As he spoke, the Nuxie film played in the background - it was the clip of Brennaman and Nuxhall singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," at the end of which Marty plants a big smooch on his partner's face.

The fun-loving quality of those two men working together shines through the entire exhibit.

The main display case is eye-catching, with pieces such as Nux's big red-and-white golf bag complete with banana-phone-headed putter; "Santa & Elf" cutouts of Marty and Joe, respectively, from a Christmastime JTM commercial; and an Elvis bust that once graced the Reds radio booth.

It's all here - the stuff Nuxhall collected on the way to rounding third.

How was it one fan put it?

"Peter Pan just thinks he's Joe Nuxhall."

"He got his money's worth, and got no change," Brennaman said at Nuxhall's visitation at Fairfield High School in November. "I mean, no change."

Although Nux will go down in history as the youngest major-leaguer (15 years old) of the modern era, that's only a number.

To Reds fans, Nux was a lot more than a number.

"Today I shed tears for a man I never met, but I knew him," reads a quote on the homage wall. "I've listened to his voice for years, and I knew him by his good works and deeds. My regret is that I never got to shake hands with this great and giving man - a man for all the ages."

Eckes will always remember calling his sister Melissa the morning Nuxhall died.

"I've never heard her that upset," Eckes said.

If there's a purpose to the exhibit, it is that.

To cheer people up.

That's the way Nux would have done it.


03-21-2008, 11:14 AM
Nice article, but the writer for the photo captions completely messed up. The photo shows, among other things, a KC Athletics hat, saying it's from 1961, "his last season in the majors." Ouch.

03-21-2008, 11:31 AM
I love the Reds HoF, and I really can not wait to see this exhibit. I loved the Pete exhibit last year, and I've not doubt this one will bring a tear to my eye in some regards. The Reds HoF really, really knows how to put on a presentation.

03-22-2008, 01:59 AM
Reds' display gives voice to Joe's legacy
Exhibit spanning Nuxhall's baseball, broadcast career opens today at team's Hall of Fame

By Rick McCrabb

Staff Writer

Saturday, March 22, 2008

CINCINNATI Joe Nuxhall rounded third and headed to the Hall.

Nuxhall, the legendary Cincinnati Reds player and broadcaster who passed away Nov. 15, 2007, is being remembered through an exhibit "The Ol' Lefthander" that opens today, March 22, at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

The exhibit, which spans Nuxhall's major league and radio career, celebrates his off-the-field accomplishments as much as his playing career.

In every photo, Nuxhall is smiling and it's eerie when Nuxhall's voice "This is the ol' lefthander roundin' third and headin' for home" is heard over the loudspeaker.

Bring some Kleenex.

"We hope this shows all the good Joe did for the game," said Rick Walls, executive director of the Hall. "He seemed to touch all of us and much of that came beyond the diamond."

Guests to the Nuxhall exhibit are greeted by four oversized photos of Nuxhall. Three Crosley Field lockers display Nuxhall jerseys and hats, several vintage baseball cards and a key to the city of Hamilton.

There's also a signed letter, dated Jan. 12, 1966, from Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who faced Nuxhall the day he made his first major league appearance. Musial joked that Nuxhall was a "thorn in his side."

There are rare photos of Joe and his younger brother, Bob, pitching in the Reds' farm system and a 1944 Wilson Junior High School boys basketball team photo in Hamilton.

One large wall is dedicated to online comments from more than 50 Reds fans who paid homage to Nuxhall right after his death.

Much of the memorabilia is on loan from Nuxhall's family and area collectors. Mark Fugate, who owns Diamond Sports in Monroe, loaned the Hall some of the memorabilia.

When asked its worth, Fugate simply said: "Priceless."

Just like the player who wore it.

Contact this reporter at (513) 705-2842 or rmccrabb@coxohio.com.

'The Ol' Lefthander' exhibit

When: Opens at 10 a.m. today, March 22, and resumes Monday through the rest of year

Where: Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, Cincinnati

How much: $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors. Children under 5 are free.


03-23-2008, 03:27 PM
Nuxhall exhibit debuts
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Beth and Dave Middleton spent Saturday doing what Reds fans have done for years - listening to Joe Nuxhall's voice.

"This is awesome," said Dave, 55, after hearing Nuxhall audio highlights in the new Nuxhall exhibit at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

The display, "The Ol' Lefthander," opened Saturday. It's a tribute to Nuxhall, who died in November at age 79, after 64 years as a player and broadcaster for the club.

Beth Middleton, 55, a loyal Reds radio listener from Sycamore Township, was impressed with the collection of photos, uniforms, hats, plaques and other memorabilia donated by the Nuxhall family. She wasn't expecting to find 36 Nuxhall radio highlights that can be heard on headphones.

"I listened to all of them. It brought back a lot of funny memories with Marty (Brennaman)," she said. "Fans will love this."

Cathy Newman, 26, of Fort Thomas read all 50-plus quotations printed on the wall from Reds fans who posted online messages after Nuxhall lost his battle with cancer.

"He touched so many lives in so many ways. It was nice to see other people remember him the way I did," Newman said. "This is a great way to pay respect to him."

Most people watched the 10-minute video tribute, which includes Nuxhall and Brennaman singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," and their Kroger commercials.

Many stopped to read the June 10, 1944, newspaper story announcing that Nuxhall, 15, from Hamilton, would be in a Reds uniform at Crosley Field that day - and the adjacent box score from the young lefthander's Reds debut.

A huge glass case has his old uniforms, red-and-white golf bag, a life-size cutout of Santa (Marty) and towering elf (Joe) from a JTM meats commercial, and the green, banana-shaped "Banana Phone" that fans called Marty and Joe on during rain delays.

"I was surprised to see that the Banana Phone was really a banana. I just thought that was a figure of speech," said Margo Koenig, 29, of Park Hills.

Tony Chaney, a retired AK Steel worker who has done part-time ball park security for the Reds since 2001, made his first trip to the museum Saturday because of the new Nuxhall display. "This exhibit captures his playing days, as well as his broadcast career. It's excellent," said Chaney, 56, of West Middletown.

"This is something every baseball fan should see, because Marty and Joe are a part of a lot of baseball history," Dave Middleton said.