The Ol’ Lefthander


Glancing Back, and Remembering Joe Nuxhall

Joe Nuxhall made his major league debut in 1944 with the Cincinnati Reds … at the ripe old age of 15. He was the youngest player in major league history, the result of the player shortage due to the Second World War. Nuxhall allowed two hits and five walks in the ninth inning of an 18-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Left-hander Joe Nuxhall had the distinction of being the youngest player in history. He made his major league debut in 1944 at age 15.

After that lone appearance, Nuxhall spent the rest of that summer in the minors and returned to high school in the fall. He remained in the Reds farm system through 1951 and made his second “debut” in 1952, going 1-4 with a 3.22 ERA in 37 appearances.

Nuxhall gradually moved into the Reds’ starting rotation, winning 12 games in 1954 and 17 games in 1955, leading the National League with five shutouts that season. Nuxhall was 83-73 for the Reds in the 1950s, with a combined ERA of 3.92.

In 1960, Nuxhall was 1-8 with a 4.42 ERA and was traded to the Kansas City Athletics for John Briggs and John Tsitouris. He was 5-8 for the A’s in 1961 and was released after the season. He caught on with the Los Angeles Angels in 1962 and appeared in five games before being released again. He signed with the Reds and was 5-0 with a 2.45 ERA over the rest of the 1962 season.

In his second tour with the Reds, from 1962 through 1966, Nuhall was 46-28, including 15-8 with a 2.61 ERA in 1963. He retired after the 1966 season with a career record of 135-117 on a 3.90 ERA. He was an All-Star in 1955 and 1956.


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