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March 21, 2013

Aaron Harang honors Joe Nuxhall

Aaron Harang Wearing Joe Nuxhall's Name and Number in TributeI 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.

February 12, 2011

Aaron Harang Hope for Rebirth at Childhood Home

I saw this article linked to by today about Aaron Harang and his attempts to resurrect his career with the San Diego Padres.

Harang signed a one-year, $4 million deal this off-season to pitch in the spacious PetCo Park and hope to return to his awesome, winning ways of 2006 and 2007. He’s only 32 years old, so there’s likely some talent left in his tank. What better place than where he grew up and lives?

Born in San Diego, raised in Allied Gardens, a phenom at Patrick Henry High, a star at SDSU, Harang is as glued to San Diego as night and morning low clouds. During a 12-year professional baseball career, Harang always returned to San Diego in the offseason. The Del Cerro home he bought in 2003 and still lives in is about a 3-wood from his old stamping grounds.

After the great years with the Cincinnati Reds, he was overused in a brief period in 2008 and was never the same. He was injured, but that never explained why he couldn’t quite get back on track.

“I feel like I’ve never been able to get back to the consistent, repetitive mechanics that I had,” [Harang] said. “The last couple of years have been, ‘Try this, try that. Move your arm angle out a little.’

“I’ve had a couple of my old coaches call me, asking, ‘What are you doing? You had so much success before doing the same thing. Now, all of a sudden, you’re turning your back on that?’

“I got away from my main thing, which is throwing my fastball (primarily) and throwing everything off that. I got to thinking I’m going to trick people and it just didn’t work.”

I’m hoping for a great showing from Harang. He was my favorite player on those terrible teams in the 200s, and I’d love to see these last few years as nothing more than a bump in the road for him.

Run support, bullpen support, defensive support, all are baseball measurables. But what role does happiness in your environment play in an athlete’s success? With Harang, we may be about to find out.

“He is extremely excited,” said Harang’s wife, Jennifer.

The couple have a 4-year-old daughter, Addison, and 8-week-old twins, Dustin and Kailey. Baby sitters will be no problem. Both set of grandparents live nearby.

“I’ve always talked about it with Jennifer,” Harang said. “You gotta jump at the chance to be able to stay at home.”

Read the whole article. If you’re a fan of Harang, it’s worth your while.

December 6, 2010

Padres Ink Harang for 2011

The San Diego Padres have signed Aaron Harang for a one-year deal in 2011 with a mutual option for 2012. The press release on has lots of cool facts about the Harangutan that made me say, “oh yeah, I remember that” and/or “he pulled _that_ off? Even with the team that was behind him?”

Since joining the Reds in 2003, Harang ranks among National League leaders in wins (T13th, 75), starts (5th, 213), innings pitched (5th, 1343.0) and strikeouts (5th, 1,125). In 2006, he led the NL in wins (16), complete games (6), starts (35) and strikeouts (216). The right-hander followed his 2006 performance with another 16-win campaign in 2007, finishing fourth in the National League Cy Young voting.

Born in San Diego, Harang is a 1996 graduate of Patrick Henry High School. He attended San Diego State University, where he majored in graphic design. In Cincinnati, Harang was one of the club’s more active members of the community, having been nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award (2007, 09), Branch Rickey Award (2007) and Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award (2007, 08, 09).

I’m glad to see the big guy signing on in a place that seems to be such a good fit. That last pitching appearance of his was a pretty emotional one for me. To think: no more goth.

October 3, 2010

A Farewell to Arms

That title would be so much better if Aaron Harang’s nickname was “Arms.” He certainly has some significant arms–well, one significant arm at least. Come to think of it, I can’t think of any particular nickname that Harang does have, so maybe I could just start calling him that. On the other hand, it seems a little late in the game to be starting that sort of nonsense.

Thank You Aaron HarangBig day today. Last game of the season, and almost certainly the last time one Mr. Aaron Harang will start for the Reds. Harang is the only player currently on the active roster who has been there since RHM first started up five years ago, and it’s a sad feeling to think that one thing that has always been the same won’t continue to be there next season.

The first RHM post that mentions Harang was published on April 26, 2005. Other players mentioned in that post include:

  • Adam Dunn
  • Austin Kearns
  • Rich Aurilia
  • Joe Randa
  • Ken Griffey, Jr.

Wait, it gets better…

  • Ryan Wagner
  • Danny Graves

Since then, we’ve gone through a lot together. In 2005, we awarded him the Anti-Milton award for not sucking. In 2006, we roughly photoshopped his photo to make him look like a goth and that photo that still appears on the first page of results on a Google image search for Aaron Harang.

We congratulated him when his daughter was born (in fact, today is her fourth birthday) and applauded when he signed on for four years with the team.

We smiled approvingly when he started the “Aaron’s Aces” ticket program in 2007 that provided free game tickets for children of military personnel and when people were putting his name together with “Cy Young” in the same sentence.

Later, we groaned when the offense began reading his name on the line-up card as “please don’t score” and even called him “Lemon” Harang once or twice. I guess he did have a bit of a nickname after all. We could also call him “The guy who had an emergency appendectomy that ended his season in 2009.” That one rolls off the tongue too.

It’s been a good run with Harang. Through the team’s ups and downs, he’s been the shy, understated constant who always seemed to draw Chris Carpenter and Carlos Zambrano. Sometimes great, sometimes not so much, but he always gave the fans hope. And I hope that he’s able to find continued success in his post-Cincinnati career, after one quick World Series win.

October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween from the Monster Reds

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