The Daily Star
---- — Staff and Wire Reports
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Texas Rangers announcer Eric Nadel won the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting.
“I’m so excited,” Nadel said during a conference call Wednesday. “I’m happy, tremendously flattered. It’s an amazing thrill for a kid from Brooklyn who grew up as a radio junkie. I’m still a radio junkie, I guess.”
The award was announced by the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings.
Nadel has been with Texas for the past 35 years. For the last 19, he has been the lead voice on Rangers radio broadcasts.
Former President George W. Bush, a former Rangers owner, said he has fond memories of listening to Nadel, whom he called a friend.
“His passion for the sport is evident in every broadcast,” Bush said in a statement issued through the Rangers. “Any announcer can call a game, but Eric brings his listeners into the stadium. He is a wonderful ambassador for our national pastime.”
Nadel, 62, called Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th strikeout on Aug. 22, 1989, and was on air for the Rangers’ six playoff berths and two American League pennants. His signature home run call, “That ball is history!” is part of Rangers lore.
“Eric’s description and analysis of thousands of Texas Rangers games over the last 35 years have been a joy for the fans,” Hall of Famer Ryan said through the Rangers. “He has always made the games entertaining and informative. He is a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word and is very deserving of the honor.”
Nadel will be honored during the Hall’s annual Awards Presentation, which is set for July 26, 2014, in Cooperstown. The Awards Presentation also will honor J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Roger Angell for excellence in baseball writing and Joe Garagiola with the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.
The presentation is part of 2014 Induction Weekend, which will welcome former managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre to the Hall this summer. The three were unanimously elected to the Hall via the Expansion Era Committee on Monday. They’ll be joined by anyone receiving 75 percent of the votes in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Players Election, which will be announced Jan. 8.
Nadel earned the highest point total in a vote conducted by the Hall’s Frick Award Committee, a 20-member electorate comprised of the 16 living Frick Award recipients and four broadcast historians/columnists. Committee members include former Frick winners Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Tim McCarver, Jon Miller, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, Dave Van Horne and Bob Wolff. Historians/columnists on the panel are Bob Costas (NBC/MLB Network), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian).
“Eric Nadel’s play-by-play has entertained Rangers fans across the Lone Star State and throughout the Southwest during warm Texas nights since 1979,” Hall President Jeff Idelson said in a statement prepared by the baseball shrine. “From Nolan Ryan’s memorable milestones to American League Championship clinching moments, Eric’s crisp, energetic and enthusiastic delivery of Texas Rangers baseball has transcended multiple generations for 35 seasons.”
Nadel was chosen from a list of 10 finalists selected in October. The final ballot included three fan selections from an online vote. The other seven finalists were broadcasters chosen by a Hall-appointed research committee.
Joe Castiglione, Jacques Doucet (fan pick), Ken Harrelson, Bill King (fan pick), Duane Kuiper (fan pick), Eduardo Ortega, Mike Shannon, Dewayne Staats and Pete Van Wieren also made the top 10.