Nothing much happening with the Cubs today, but in Cincinnati, Reds fans are mourning the passing of Joe Nuxhall, who became the youngest player in Major League history when he stepped on the mound for the Reds in 1944 at the age of 15.
Nuxhall would go on to win 135 games over 16 seasons--15 in a Reds uniform--before retiring just ahead of Opening Day, 1967, so there would be room on the Cincinnati roster for rookie pitcher Gary Nolan. Nuxhall started working as a Reds broadcaster, and in 1974, he was joined in the booth by Marty Brennaman, with whom Nuxhall would form a broadcasting team for 28 seasons.
Most Major League teams, it seems, have that old standby broadcaster who becomes even more intimately connected to the franchise than its logo, its ballpark, its team colors, and these days, its star players. The Dodgers have Scully, the Phillies have Kalas, the Tigers had Harwell. In Brennaman and Nuxhall, the Reds were lucky enough to have two beloved stalwarts.
In my mind, the Cubs had the greatest broadcaster of them all, Jack Brickhouse, and when he died, years after he had stopped broadcasting and many years after he was at the top of his game, I felt as though a great source of my affection for the Cubs had been lost to me forever.
I imagine there are many Reds fans feeling the same way tonight.