Miracle League organizations play in Fairfield, honor 10 years of local fields

The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League in Fairfield and the Miracle League of the South Hills of Pittsburgh competed in the first of its kind matchup. Former Cincinnati Red Sean Casey’s team from Pennsylvania traveled four hours to Fairfield for the matchup. The Fairfield team will travel to Pittsburgh next summer. Pictured is MLSH player Cody Clegg fielding a ball during warms on Lance Cpl. Taylor Prazynski Field at the JNML Fields in Fairfield. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

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The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League in Fairfield and the Miracle League of the South Hills of Pittsburgh competed in the first of its kind matchup. Former Cincinnati Red Sean Casey’s team from Pennsylvania traveled four hours to Fairfield for the matchup. The Fairfield team will travel to Pittsburgh next summer. Pictured is MLSH player Cody Clegg fielding a ball during warms on Lance Cpl. Taylor Prazynski Field at the JNML Fields in Fairfield. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Saturday’s matchup between a pair of Miracle League organizations happened because of a letter Kim Nuxhall wrote Sean Casey some two decades earlier.

Nuxhall wanted to have Casey, the then-Cincinnati Reds first baseman, come to talk about character to his students at the Fairfield City Schools. At the suggestion of his dad, Joe Nuxhall, the Reds’ radio announcer, he wrote Casey a letter asking him to his class.

In the words Casey uses often, he was “all in, brother” twenty-some years ago, and he was “all in, brother” on Saturday.

Casey started his Miracle League of the South Hills about 12 years ago, two years before the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields began. He said Saturday that he and Kim Nuxhall wanted to start these organizations close together. The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame first baseman told the hundreds Saturday that one of the things they realized early on was the impact they had on their respective communities.

“And this,” said about the two organizations coming together, “is just such an example, with these fields, and the kids, and families.”

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Sean Casey is the last autograph this Cincinnati Reds fan needed on this poster featuring Reds Legends of the ‘90s. Casey was at Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields on Saturday, July 23, 2022, with a group of players from his Miracle League of the South Hills in Pittsburgh. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Sean Casey is the last autograph this Cincinnati Reds fan needed on this poster featuring Reds Legends of the ‘90s. Casey was at Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields on Saturday, July 23, 2022, with a group of players from his Miracle League of the South Hills in Pittsburgh. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

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Sean Casey is the last autograph this Cincinnati Reds fan needed on this poster featuring Reds Legends of the ‘90s. Casey was at Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields on Saturday, July 23, 2022, with a group of players from his Miracle League of the South Hills in Pittsburgh. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

“It’s one thing to talk about it, and it’s another thing to take action and make it happen,” said Casey, adding that when you’re involved with Kim Nuxhall, it may happen sooner than you’re ready. But, he was “all in, brother.”

Casey’s return to southwest Ohio from his hometown of Pittsburgh wasn’t a hard sell. Besides supporting The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League in Fairfield and the Miracle League of the South Hills of Pittsburgh, he said, “Cincinnati will always hold a special place in his heart.”

“I was doing a gratitude journal this morning and Cincinnati, I spent eight years here, and there’s just so much love in this community and you always keep proving it,” he said Saturday. “Today’s just another example of the love in this city, and out here in Fairfield, Hamilton and everything. Thank you for showing up for us.”

Nuxhall was overwhelmed on Saturday, still mourning the death of his mother, Donzetta Nuxhall, who died on Thursday morning and was married to the Reds Hall of Fame pitcher and announcer for 60 years.

But emotions were high for Nuxhall because every single supporter, from the boards of the Nuxhall Foundation and Miracle League Fields, to the casual fans of the special needs players that “allow us to carry that torch in her and Dad’s memory.”

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The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League in Fairfield and the Miracle League of the South Hills of Pittsburgh competed in the first of its kind matchup. Former Cincinnati Red Sean Casey’s team from Pennsylvania traveled four hours to Fairfield for the matchup. The Fairfield team will travel to Pittsburgh next summer. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League in Fairfield and the Miracle League of the South Hills of Pittsburgh competed in the first of its kind matchup. Former Cincinnati Red Sean Casey’s team from Pennsylvania traveled four hours to Fairfield for the matchup. The Fairfield team will travel to Pittsburgh next summer. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League in Fairfield and the Miracle League of the South Hills of Pittsburgh competed in the first of its kind matchup. Former Cincinnati Red Sean Casey’s team from Pennsylvania traveled four hours to Fairfield for the matchup. The Fairfield team will travel to Pittsburgh next summer. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Sheila Gray, an anchor for Local 12 WKRC in Cincinnati, had been involved with the Miracle League since the presentation of the Miracle League fields at a luncheon a dozen year ago, and continues to be an active supporter. The fields were dedicated in July 2012.

She said she’s celebrating not only the Miracle Series but the first decade of the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League’s existence for “selfish” reasons.

“Sean said to me the other day, ‘You cannot have a bad day when you are around these special athletes, and these families,’” Gray said Saturday. “It’s totally selfish for me to come up here. It makes me happy.”

The Miracle Series was the latest among several celebrations in the Miracle League’s 10th anniversary, one of the legacy projects of the Nuxhall Foundation. On Saturday, the return of the Nuxy Bash will take place at the Miracle League Fields. This is the first Nuxy Bash ― which features a celebrity softball game ― since the COVID pandemic, and will be played at 7 p.m. at the Groh Lane fields in Fairfield.

It’s also taking place on what would have been Joe Nuxhall’s 94th birthday.

“Each year, we look forward to the Nuxy Bash because of the opportunity it presents to us — an opportunity to say thanks to all those who have made this dream possible,” said Kim Nuxhall, president and board chairman of the Nuxhall Foundation. “We have so many people who have helped us make our first ten years so magical. We look forward to tipping our caps to Dad at this year’s event, and having some fun as we celebrate the achievements of our community.”


NUXY BASH

The Nuxy Bash returns to the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields for the first time since 2019. This year’s Nuxy Bash will feature the traditional celebrity softball game, combining celebrity friends of the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields on teams with players from the Great Miami Valley YMCA Youth League and the Therapeutic Recreation for the Disabled Adult League.

Celebrities will include several members of the Cincinnati media, as well as former Cincinnati Red Scott Williamson, world-renowned illustrator CF Payne, director of the Reds Community Fund Charley Frank, local commercial superstar Ed Hartman, and the 2022 Joe Nuxhall Humanitarian Award recipient ― and Reds batboy ― Teddy Kremer.

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