I saw this story about Aaron Harang today making the rounds on various Reds blogs and thought I’d share.
Harang, as you may remember, was the one shining spot in the pitching rotation of the Cincinnati Reds during the first decade of the new millenium. Sadly, his best years were wasted on terrible, terrible Reds teams, and by the time competent people were in charge, Harang was on the down-side of his career.
He resurrected it in San Diego, though, and is now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he’s decided to change his uniform number from 44 to 41. In case that number sounds familiar, it’s one that legen–wait-for-it–dary Reds pitcher and broadcaster Joe Nuxhall wore.
Nuxhall moved to the broadcast booth in 1967 and called Reds games for 38 years, including Harang’s first two seasons in Cincinnati, in 2003-2004. The two struck up a friendship that lasted until Nuxhall’s death in 2007. Harang has donated to Nuxhall’s charity foundation, the Miracle Fields in and around Cincinnati, and still keeps in touch with his son to this day.
“He was just a special guy in general,” Harang said. “Everybody who came in contact with him thought the world of him.”
When Harang came to the Reds, he wore the number 39, which was Nuxhall’s first number. Harang changed to 41, another of Nuxhall’s numbers, when he was with the Padres, but it wasn’t available in L.A. Until last year when the wearer of it was traded. And now it’s Harang’s, assuming he can secure that fifth spot in the Dodger’s rotation.