Cincinnati Reds, GE Aviation celebrate community commitment on Opening Day

GE Aviation CEO David Joyce wore jersey number 18 when he took the mound on Monday to throw out the Reds’ Opening Day ceremonial first pitch in Cincinnati. Joe Allen, the general manager of GE’s Global Operations in North America, served as catcher.

18 was a tribute to Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Eppa Rixey, who played 13 seasons for the Reds (1921-33) and is Cincinnati’s all-time leader in wins with 179. Rixey wore the number 18 in 1932 and 1933, the first two seasons Cincinnati had numbered jerseys.

Joyce read about Rixey as a child and has connected with his story ever since, archiving articles through the years on the left-handed pitcher. Beyond baseball, Rixey was a scholar, earning a master’s degree in chemistry. He also taught Latin at Episcopal High School in Washington D.C.

After playing his first six seasons in Philadelphia, Rixey put his baseball career on hold to serve as an officer in a chemical warfare unit during WWI.

Rixey eventually retired from the mound but stayed in Cincinnati and built a thriving insurance business that lives on today through his grandson, Eppa Rixey IV.

Joyce played baseball as a kid and loved Rixey because like him, he pitched left-handed and batted from the right side.

GE’s aviation division was just getting off the ground in 1919 when the Reds won their first World Series; their journeys of community involvement have continued to cross paths ever since.

In 1935, GE teamed up with the Reds to make the first Major League Baseball night game possible, bringing 20,000 fans to Crosley Field.

GE came to Cincinnati permanently in 1948, building jet engines at its Lockland facility. Today, GE has 16 facilities in Ohio, employing nearly 14,500. That includes one of the newest facilities, which overlooks Great American Ball Park.

GE’s Global Operations Center is expected to pump $1 billion into Cincinnati and employ a projected 1,800 people by next year.

GE workers are proud members of their communities, dedicating more than 50,000 volunteer hours each year in Greater Cincinnati alone. GE Aviation and the GE Foundation have also been long-time partners with Cincinnati Public Schools, granting more than $25.3 million over the last 10 years to improve student achievement in math and science.

“We wanted to acknowledge GE for their decades of generosity to communities throughout Reds Country and welcome GE Global Operations to The Banks,” said Bob Castellini, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Reds.