Nuxhall named Frick Award finalist
Late broadcaster receives most online votes from fans
NASHVILLE -- Reds fans who loved Joe Nuxhall backed up their passion for the Cincinnati icon this past month.The late broadcaster and Reds pitcher, who died of complications from lymphoma on Nov. 15, was named Tuesday as one of 10 finalists for the annual Ford C. Frick Award. But Nuxhall -- along with A's voice Bill King and ESPN's Joe Morgan -- were selected to the final 10 by fans in an exclusive online vote at the Baseball Hall of Fame's Web site and MLB.com in November. The other seven were named by the Frick nominating committee. Of more than 122,000 online ballots cast by fans, Nuxhall received an astounding 82,304 votes. King was a distant second with 7,659 votes. When he also was a finalist last year, Nuxhall received more than 8,000 votes of the approximately 75,000 ballots cast. "On behalf of dad and the entire Nuxhall family, we wish to express our sincere gratitude to the Cincinnati Reds, radio and TV stations, newspapers and particularly the thousands of fans who took the time to cast their votes for dad," said Nuxhall's son, Kim, in a statement. "Just being on the ballot is a great honor for dad, and we graciously share this recognition with everyone in Reds country."
Fans were permitted cast votes for as many as three broadcasters once daily, basing their decisions on four criteria: longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including awards and national assignments, such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity.
The Frick Award has been given annually by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown since 1978 to broadcasters that "make major contributions to the game of baseball." Frick was considered a driving force behind the creation of the Hall of Fame and he helped foster the relationship between radio and the game of baseball.Results of the 2008 election, to be determined by the Frick election committee, will be announced on February 19. The remaining finalists are Dizzy Dean, Tom Cheek, Tony Kubek, Dave Niehaus, Dave Van Horne, Graham McNamee and Ken Coleman. The 2007 recipient was longtime Royals broadcaster Denny Matthews. Nuxhall's longtime broadcast partner, Marty Brennaman, was the Frick Award winner in 2000. Nuxhall, who was 79 and affectionately known as the "Ol' Lefthander," enjoyed a 63-year association with the Reds organization. He was a radio voice from 1967-2004 but worked a handful of games in retirement the past three seasons.
For 31 years, Nuxhall had a thriving on-air partnership with the legendary Brennaman that began in 1974. The pair became a beloved tradition for Reds fans around the country that were able to pick up WLW's powerful AM signal.Together, Nuxhall and Brennaman called some of the greatest moments in Reds history, including the "Big Red Machine" and its back-to-back World Series championships in 1975-76. After games, Nuxhall hosted the postgame show and he interviewed players from inside the Reds clubhouse. His signature signoff that he was "rounding third and heading for home" is adorned in giant lettering on the outer façade of Great American Ball Park. Nuxhall will forever be part of baseball history for being the youngest player to appear in a Major League game at 15 years, 10 months and 11 days old when he pitched for the Reds on June 10, 1944. His next game for Cincinnati didn't come until 1952, and he remained in the Majors through the 1966 season. With a lifetime record of 135-117 and a 3.90 ERA, he was a two-time All-Star in 1955-56. In poor health the past few years, which included multiple bouts with cancer, Nuxhall lost his battle with the disease last month.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.