Living History: Nuxhall and Franco

Sixty-two years ago, a 15-year-old youngster from Hamilton, Ohio, became the youngest participant in a modern Major League game.  For all of Joe Nuxhall’s incredible contributions to the game of baseball, and for all he’s meant to the Reds and their fans, 100 years from now, Joe’s youthful debut will be the thing that keeps him in the history books (if they’re still using books then…LOL).  He will forever be the youngest player in big-league history.

Thirty-eight years after Joe’s debut, Julio Franco, born far from Hamilton in San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic, made his Major League debut.  But it isn’t Franco’s debut that is historic — it’s what he did earlier this season.  The Mets first baseman, pinch hitter and ageless role model, hit a home run on April 20, 2006, at the age of 47 years and 240 days to become the oldest player to homer in a Major League game.  He’ll turn 48 on Aug. 23. Amazingly, he signed a TWO-year contract with the Mets before this season, so he’ll be a Met until he’s at least 49.  He hopes to play until he’s 50.

When the Mets were recently at Great American Ball Park, I thought it would be neat, and somewhat historic, to photograph the youngest player in history with the oldest man to hit a home run.  The irony, of course, is the younger man in the photo is the oldest to homer.  The older man in the photo is the youngest player ever, but you get the idea.

So here are a few shots, including a head-to-toe shot that can be downloaded for you to keep as an 8-by-10 piece of history.  Julio Franco and Joe Nuxhall.  Yet another piece of history in the birthplace of professional baseball:

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Franco would like to play till he’s 50. One of his teammates said he could probably play till he’s 55 (and still look like he’s 35). Here he is taking batting practice (for probably the 40,000th time…)

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Franco says he likes the NL, and enjoys playing defense.  He even feels he could still play in the field every day.

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TO SEE A LARGER VERSION
Click on the image to the left, which will open a new window.

TO DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION:
– Right click on this link
– Choose "Save Target As"
– Save the file to a location of your choice
– You now have a high-resolution 8×10 digital copy of this photograph. Feel free to print on your personal photo printer, or take it to your favorite photo center to have a copy made.

10 Comments

Hey Steve!

You must add “And this one belongs to the Reds!” on games that you and Joe work together. Reds wins don’t seem official without it. I’m sure Marty won’t mind- Joe used to say it too!

Great pictures with Franco and Joe!

Very cool idea and thanks for the picture. I definately downloaded that one.

Love the pic’s…Bravo…I hope that Julio plays 10 more years…..

One point however…Nuxey isn’t the youngest player ever to play in the majors. Fred Chapman is the youngest at the ripe young age of 14 years 7 months 29 days. He played in 1887 for the Philadelphia A’s of the American Association….

Nuxey is the youngest in the modern era….

Either way…Great blog Steve ! I visit it every week…

BADBOY I E-MAILED YOU WHEN YOU FIRST STATED THIS PAGE AND KIN OF SAID I DIDNT LIKE IT. I’LL HAVE TO SAY THIS SITE HAS GOT VERY GOOD THROUGH THE SEASON AND I ENJOY IT VERY VERY MUCH, ITS VERY INTERESTING THE INSIDE LOOK AT THINGS YOU GIVE US EVERY WEEK GREAT JOB KEEP IT UP. E

Mr. Nuxhall looks great in the photo. He’s one of many reasons to be proud to be a Reds fan. I’m curious, who’s the second youngest ever?

WOW! Getting Cormier and Lohse is huge. Sorry to see Germano go, he’ll win a lot for the phillies. But, the best trade was Casey to the Tigers. I don’t root for ex-Reds much, but it’s great to see Casey have a great chance to make it to the World Series. Hopefully, against the REDS!

The second youngest ever was Billy Geer. He was also 14. He played for the New York Mutuals in 1874 in the National Association…..

Joe Nuxhall I believe is the third youngest ever (but youngest in the modern era). Even though it is widely reported that Nuxey is the youngest ever…Its a common mistake….

Just as Jackie Robinson isn’t the first black to play in the majors. Robinson just broke the color line but many think he was the first ever. The first black to play in the majors was Fleet Walker in 1884….

I’d like to add that Billy Geer is one of the few major league ballplayers that played in 4 different major leagues. He played in the National Association, National League, Union Association and American Association….

Reds Hall of Famer Dummy Hoy (he was a duff mute) also played in four different major leagues. Hoy played in the National League, Players League, American Association and American League….

Hey Folks:

Glad you enjoyed these pics with Joe and Julio. FYI, Joe has the distinction of being the youngest player in “modern” baseball history. “Modern” generally means post-1900. Soon to come…the JDD…in all it’s glory!

I hope Franco plays til he is 55–it is going to be a sad rite of passage when there are no active players older than me! 🙂

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