Joe Nuxhall

The youngest player of the 20th century to reach the majors, Nuxhall was an exceptionally promising schoolboy pitcher, signed by the Reds with special permission from his school principal. He was 15 years, 10 months, and 11 days old on June 10, 1944, when manager Bill McKechnie sent him in to pitch the ninth inning of a game hopelessly lost to the Cardinals. He yielded five runs on two hits and five walks, while retiring only two batters. He pitched seven years in the minors to earn a second chance and returned to the Reds in 1952. He won a career-high 17 games in 1955, leading the league with five shutouts, and pitching 3-1/3 scoreless innings in the All-Star Game. He began having arm trouble in 1960, was traded to the A’s in 1961, and hooked on with the Angels briefly in 1962. A lifetime .198 batter with 15 home runs, in 1961 he hit .292 and contemplated continuing his career as a pinch hitter/first baseman. But he bounced back as a pitcher, returning to the Reds for the 1962 stretch drive and going 5-0. In 1963, he was 15-8, with a career-low 2.61 ERA. Nuxhall retired just before Opening Day 1967, to make room on the roster for rookie Gary Nolan and become a Reds broadcaster.