ARLINGTON -- For 35 seasons, Eric Nadel has been broadcasting Texas Rangers games. During that time, he has become more than just a play-by-play man.
“I'm the voice of the team, and I'm the voice of hope for the team,” Nadel said.
Wednesday, his voice was emotional as he learned that he will join broadcast legends in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
“I’m so excited,” Nadel said. “I can’t possibly express it. I’m so happy. I’m so flattered. It’s just an amazing thrill. Somehow, I'm still having to pinch myself. I'm so grateful.”
Nadel will now join his idols in the hall of fame.
“I grew up listening to Mel Allen and Red Barber doing the Yankee games, and then to Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy doing the Mets games,” Nadel said. “Those guys were heroes, they were idols to me. They've won this award and now I'm being placed in the same category as them, it's really overwhelming.”
Nadel said the toughest broadcast he ever had to do was on Sept. 7, 1997, when broadcaster and close friend Mark Holtz died.
“I don’t think I had a smile in my voice that day,” Nadel said.
Nadel will be honored on July 26 as the first primary voice of this franchise to receive the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Nadel is known for his famous home run call, “That ball is history.”
“Somebody said one night at a party, they were leaving and they said, 'I'm history,' and I thought, 'Maybe that's it,'” Nadel said.
“Before he goes to Cooperstown, we're going to honor him here at the ball park,” Chuck Morgan said. Morgan is director of the team’s ballpark productions. “I don't have any of the details, other than it's probably pretty bobblehead worthy -- a talking bobblehead.”
Matt Hicks, who joined Nadel as his broadcast partner during the 2012 season, shares in Nadel’s excitement.
“If you wanted to learn how to be a good radio baseball play by play, I mean this would be the place to start with Eric,” Hicks said. “I learn from him every day and I try to make sure that I don’t miss anything. It really is an amazing experience.”
“It’s as big as it gets,” said Rangers TV broadcaster Steve Busby. “It’s very well deserved and overdue, as far as I’m concerned. I can’t imagine anyone who has contributed more to the Rangers and to baseball overall than Eric has as a broadcaster.”
“For the people that think the result is a product of how hard you work and how much you put into it, then he’s a great example of the reward that awaits you,” said Rangers TV broadcast analyst Tom Grieve.