If you are a baseball fan there is no denying that you have a favorite announcer. Whether it's Eric Nadel, Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Jon Miller, Vin Scully, Mel Allen or Red Barber; you have a favorite. There was a voice, at some point in your life as a baseball fan, that drew you to the game. Anyone of those announcers mentioned or another hometown guy is your favorite. You can't argue that your childhood was shaped by the sounds of a person calling a baseball game on the radio or your television.
I grew up with Jack Buck. I grew up with Jack Buck in his prime. Jack was a Hall of Fame broadcaster who had great catch phrases, was of quick wit and had an amazing career. Jack Buck is an icon but others tip the scale for me. Jack is not my guy.
Another favorite is Eric Nadel. Eric, the 2014 Ford Frick Award winner has been a staple on Rangers broadcasts for so long, it's almost unbearable to think of a radio broadcast without the great Nadel. As a matter of fact, with the advent of Tivo or DVR, I know many people including Jamey Newberg that listen to the radio and sync the tv broadcast (on mute) to listen like Eric is calling the tv game. As much as I love hearing Eric, he's also not my guy.
My guy is Mark Holtz. Mark was a longtime Rangers broadcaster that announced in the radio booth with Eric Nadel from 1982 to 1995 and then moved into the TV side with Tom Grieve. After moving to Texas at age 13, I was a fan displaced. Then I found Mark and Eric on radio. I found two guys who loved what they did, despite calling games for a team that wasn't good at times. Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel became my friends.
As much as I love the call of Eric Nadel, Mark Holtz has a special place in my heart. 'Holtzy' as they called him, was my favorite. Mark Holtz taught me about the game of baseball, how to have fun and he also taught me about dealing with adversity.
Mark Holtz called his last game on May 22, 1997 when he had to give up his job to battle leukemia. On September 7 of that same year, Mark lost his battle and Rangers baseball has never been the same. While talented people have come and gone in both the radio and television sides of Rangers' broadcasts, the shoes are just too big to fill, for me. Mark Holtz had an enthusiasm, a fervor and a passion for the Texas Rangers. I wish he was still here.
One thing that always struck me was how much fun Mark had:
The phrase 'It's Baseball Time in Texas' was a Holtz creation:
'Hello Win Column' is his creation as well.
I couldn't find an actual call of 'Hello Win Column', so I hope this does the trick.
Eric Nadel is iconic in Texas, as he should be. He is simply fantastic. But I miss Mark Holtz. I think about the '96 Rangers and Mark's calls on tv and what they would have been like in 2010 and 2011. I wish he would have had a chance to make those calls. I miss Mark Holtz.
On every trip to The Ballpark in Arlington (Globe Life Park) I dip my hand in Mark Holtz Lake to remember a great man. I hope you will too.