Local reporter writes new book about Joe Nuxhall from 21 years of stories and conversations

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

Kiesewetter includes 21 years of stories and conversations with the Old Lefthander and those who knew him.

A new book about Joe Nuxhall is now available, and includes 21 years of stories and conversations with the Old Lefthander.

“Joe Nuxhall: The Old Lefthander & Me” by John Kiesewetter also includes discussions with notable Cincinnati Reds players and Marty Brennaman, the man who probably knew Nuxhall the best, besides Nuxy’s wife, Donzetta — and she’s in the book, too, as are his sons, Kim and Phil.

“Whenever I interviewed him ... I would always record it. And when I talked to him, I’d always get him to tell one of these stories or two I’d always loved to hear,” said Kiesewetter.

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

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Nuxhall, commonly known as Hamilton Joe, Nuxy, and the Old Lefthander, died in November 2007 at 79 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Fourteen years after his death, the Reds Hall of Fame pitcher and announcer’s legacy is strong, which includes several legacy projects under the Nuxhall Foundation, including the Joe Nuxhall Memorial Scholarship which provides scholarships to 14 Butler County high schools.

The scholarship is Kiesewetter’s favorite legacy as it’s given out nearly $1 million in college scholarships in honor of a man who never went to college. But Kiesewetter believes Nuxhall’s legacy is that it still exists “and it’s very strong” 14 years after his death.

“He is still as beloved today and is fondly remembered, and he continues to have an influence on this county,” he said.

The first time he spoke with Nuxhall was for a story in June 1986, but not long after moving to Fairfield, that’s when Kiesewetter first started hearing Nuxhall’s first-hand accounts of his baseball stories.

“It was Joe unplugged,” he recalled of the late 1980s Knights of Columbus. “It was an hour or more of telling stories without any notes, these great baseball stories.”

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Kim Nuxhall, Nuxhall Foundation volunteer CEO and president, called Kiesewetter’s book “outstanding” and any fan of his dad is “just going to love it.”

One of the “coolest” stories he recalled from the book he didn’t know was when Joe Nuxhall was 12 years old, and he’d go caddy at the Elks to make a few bucks. In 1985, that’s the same golf course they began the Joe Nuxhall golf outing, and just celebrated 36 years.

The book is full of baseball and non-baseball stories, including the “iconic” Kroger commercials with Brennaman, Nuxhall’s baseball broadcast partner of 31 years.

“They came around in 1984 and by that time most of the (Big Red) Machine was gone,” said Kiesewetter, TV and media reporter for Cincinnati Public Radio. “The Kroger advertising manager wisely went with Marty and Joe, even though the out-of-town advertising experts were saying, ‘No, you ought to get a player.’ All of a sudden it wasn’t Marty and Joe on the radio, it was Marty and Joe, this comedy team on TV.”

“Joe Nuxhall: The Old Lefthander & Me” will be available at the Reds Hall of Fame in downtown Cincinnati, Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Norwood, and Roebling Point Books and Coffee in Covington. It’s now available online at Amazon.com and Kiesewetter’s website, TVKiese.com.

. Upcoming book tour events include speaking engagements on Oct. 11 at Joseph-Beth, Oct. 12 at the Miami Hamilton Downtown Center and Nov. 9 at Miami University Regionals Middletown’s Verity Lodge.

The book is $20, and $1 of every book sold will be donated to the Nuxhall Foundation.

Kiesewetter will have speaking engagements at:

  • 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2692 Madison Road, Norwood
  • 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Miami Hamilton Downtown Center, 221 High Street, and
  • 6 p.m. on Nov. 9 at Miami University Regionals Middletown’s Verity Traditions speaker series

Additional book events are being scheduled for the coming months, but more information can be found at TVKiese.com.

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