Local author writes book about conversations with Reds great Joe Nuxhall

“What’s exciting about the July 30 date is that it’s Joe Nuxhall’s birthday. He would be 94 on July 30 this year. So it’s a significant date that coincides with the signing of the book and discussion,” Simmons said.

The program will take place in the Fairfield Lane Library Meeting Room. There will be a presentation of the book, followed by a sale and a dedication. The conference will last from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the autograph session will take place from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“Joe Nuxhall: The Former Southpaw and Me” is filled with some of Nuxhall’s favorite stories from six decades as a Cincinnati Reds player and as a beloved broadcaster. The book includes many popular stories that Nuxhall has told to different service groups and clubs. These stories offer insight into his teammates, his playing days and his 31-year partnership with Marty Brennaman as well as the stars of the Reds, whom he watched from the broadcast booth.

“The genesis of the book was to bring together these great, fun stories that Joe would tell, usually in oral presentations,” said John Kiesewetter, author. “I thought I had to collect them, value them, preserve them and pass them on to the next generation of Reds fans.”

In writing the book, he was inspired by lengthy interviews he did with Nuxhall over a 21-year period. It included stories of conversations with Brennaman and interviews with Cincinnati Reds players such as Johnny Bench, George Foster and Tom Browning as well as clubhouse manager Rick Stowe and late baseball icons Jim O’Toole and Ed Bailey, to name a few.

“I wanted to get some of their stories about Joe and their take on how important Joe is to the Cincinnati Reds franchise,” he said.

Plus, there are notable stories from George Clooney (on his 1977 Reds tryout), Pete Rose, Jonathan Winters, David Letterman, Lou Piniella, Marge Schott, Bob Trumpy, and legendary broadcasters like Al Michaels and Red Barber, among others.

The book includes chapters on pranks Marty and Joe played on each other in the broadcast booth; their Kroger advertisements and where their three-decade partnership might have ended prematurely.

“My favorite chapter is probably the one about all the pranks they played on each other in the cabin,” Kiesewetter said.

Other chapters cover Nuxhall’s pre-game and post-game interviews; his throwing and striking achievements; and his legacy, including Fairfield’s Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields, where more than 200 players with every challenge, ages 4 to 78, have every chance to play, and the Joe Nuxhall Memorial Scholarship Fund, which has awarded more $900,000 in high school scholarships since 1985.

Kiesewetter was 8 years old in 1961, when the Reds were competing in the World Series, and that’s really when he became a serious Reds fan as a kid in Middletown.

I tell this story many times… “I was left-handed, Joe was left-handed. We were both from Butler County. He was my favorite player,” he said.

Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has worked at Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015. The book “Joe Nuxhall: The Old Lefthander and Me” released in September 2021.

Copies will be available for purchase at the library on Saturdays or they can be purchased from Joseph-Beth Booksellers; Reds Hall of Fame gift shop; Roebling Point Books; and on Amazon. The cost of the book is $20, paid by cash or check at the library event, and $1 from every book sold will be donated to the Nuxhall Foundation.

Joe was born in Hamilton on July 30, 1928. and Donzetta was born on August 2, 1928 in Jellico, Kentucky. Donzetta passed away on Thursday, July 21. She was almost 94 years old.

“This Saturday, on Nuxy’s birthday, I thought it would be nice to do a presentation on ‘The Old Lefthander, Donzetta and Me’ and talk about how nice she was. Everyone knows Joe, but she was always on the back burner, so I thought it would be an opportunity to tell some of Joe’s favorite stories, as well as some of my favorite Donzetta stories,” Kiesewetter said.

“The first time I interviewed Joe was in 1986 at their home in Fairfield. It was the two of them, sitting around their kitchen table,” he said.

“She was as kind and considerate and as willing to be helpful as Joe. In that sense, they were very similar. Although Joe was the public half of the duo. She was happy to be in the background. She focused a lot on family and raising their two sons, because as a ball player or as a broadcaster, while the Reds played 162 games a year, half of them were on the road, Kiesewetter said.

Joe and Donzetta met at LeSourdsville Lake amusement park in 1946, two years after Joe’s historic 1944 debut in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds at age 15. The family moved from Hamilton to Fairfield in 1957.

Donzetta was surrounded by her family at her final resting place during a private burial on July 25 – when she was placed next to Joe at Rose Hill Cemetery in Hamilton. When Joe died in 2007 aged 79, the couple had been married for 60 years. The Nuxhall family continued to make a lasting impact in southwestern Ohio.

More information

The Fairfield Lane Library is located at 1485 Corydale Drive. For more information about this and other Lane Libraries programs, call (513) 858-3238 or visit the Lane website at www.lanepl.org.

To purchase a copy of Kiesewetter’s book, go to www.tvkiese.com.

Lola R. McClure