In the minor leagues, Nixon led the league twice in stolen bases ( in the South Atlantic League with 67 & in the International League with 94), runs scored (1980 in the South Atlantic League with 124 & 1983 in the International League with 129, hits (162 in 1983 in the International League), at bats (557 in 1983 in the International League) and walks (57 in 1979 in the Appalachian League, 113 in 1980 in the South Atlantic League and 110 in 1981 in the Southern League). He started out as an infielder but was switched to outfield in 1983 due to his superior speed and his penchant for making errors (56 in 127 games in 1981 at shortstop for the Nashville Sounds).
Nixon shares the single game stolen base Major League record with 6 on June 16, 1991. He also holds the Atlanta Braves single season record for stolen bases with 72 in 1991. In 1982, Nixon stole 107 bases in a combined season between the AA level Nashville Sounds and the AAA level Columbus Clippers.