By John Erardi
Enquirer staff writer
As excited as Joe Nuxhall is about seeing his former teammates tonight, he will be happy when his tribute evening is concluded.
"Whew!" said the Old Lefthander, referring to what he knows will be an emotional program at Great American Ball Park.
Tonight is the culmination of Nuxhall's 60-year Reds career that began in 1944 when he was a 15-year-old pitcher, the youngest major-league player of the 20th century.
The only year since '44 he wasn't a Red was 1961, when he was traded to Kansas City and the Reds made it to their first World Series since 1940. "Nuxie" can expect to be reminded of that by former Reds Jim O'Toole and Jim Maloney, who pitched in the '61 World Series and will be here for tonight's festivities.
"Seeing all the guys - it's going to be something," Nuxhall said. "I wish (former catcher) Johnny Edwards could be here, but we can't seem to get him out of Texas."
But there's another former Reds catcher who will be here - Ed Bailey.
"Bailey will go anywhere - that's no big deal," said Nuxhall, always happy to get a needle into Bailey.
Nuxhall said he won't fade away completely from the Reds scene after this year. He might even do a few games on the radio, he said.
"John (Allen, the Reds' chief operating officer) and I are going to look at the schedule for next year when it comes out," Nuxhall said. "I hope to stay tuned in a little bit. John's been fine. ... I'll do some (speeches) for the (Reds) speakers' bureau, but I'm going to tell John that any (speeches) outside Cincinnati have to come with a tee time."
An added bonus for Reds fans tonight is that after the Nuxhall tribute, the Chicago Cubs' Greg Maddux will be going for his 15th victory this season. If he gets it, it would be the 17th straight season he's reached that mark.
"To be able to pitch for 17 seasons is ridiculous enough, but to win that many games is off the charts," said Cubs pitcher Matt Clement, 30. "I've only been at this (seven years in the majors), and I know you don't have it every time out, you don't feel well every time out. But he keeps winning and keeps his team in the game start after start. I'll guarantee you he's not thinking about (extending his record). He's thinking about trying to get us into the playoffs."
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