By Jenny Elder
I got goosebumps Monday afternoon as I listened briefly to 700 WLW’s tribute to long-time Cincinnati Reds announcer and former player Joe Nuxhall.
The “Ol’ Left-hander” passed away in 2007 after a long bout with cancer. The Reds will be honoring Nuxhall all season, which started with an opening day tribute including clips from years past. Listening to his voice and hearing others share memories gave me chills.
The left-handed pitcher had an amazing list of accomplishments, most notably being the youngest player to appear in a Major League game during the modern era. He pitched two-thirds of an inning in 1944 because of player shortages with World War II. He was 15 years, 316 days old.
Nuxhall pitched 13 seasons in Cincinnati (1944, 1952-1960, 1962-1966) and after retiring in 1966, he moved into the announcers’ booth for the next 37 years.
Later Monday evening, learning that long-time Kentucky equipment manager Bill Keightley had passed away left this reporter speechless.
Mr. Wildcat worked 48 years on the sidelines for the University of Kentucky, starting with Adolph Rupp and most recently working with Billy Gillispie. Keightley was a staple of the UK program and touched so many fans across the Bluegrass state, evident in the 3,000 plus attendants of his public memorial Thursday evening.
Being left speechless is a rarity for this reporter for those of you who know me.
As I looked at the lives of both men, the quality that stands out the most is loyalty.
In a day and age of moving from job to job, it astonishes me to find two men so dedicated to their teams and work. It is a quality I miss. I grew up thinking that was how it was supposed to be, as my own dad worked 30-plus years at IBM, which later became Lexmark. Staying put at one job isn’t as easy in today’s world.
Companies are bought and sold more often then Brittany Spears is caught without her underwear. The shake-ups and changes can cause ‘downsizing’ or a closer scrutiny of the bottom line.
The assessment of someone’s bottom line can open up the need to pinch those pennies and once valued employees feel the crunch as bonuses, vacation plans, benefits and raise-scales all change.
I guess the important thing to do is follow my dad’s advice. Yikes, did I really just say that? But, seriously though, father knows best and he told me to love what you do and it won’t feel like work.
Nuxhall and Keightley followed those words until they left this world. And while it is sad to think that two legends in their own rights are gone, hopefully we can learn from the lives they led.