The Texas Rangers just confirmed what everybody already knew: Eric Nadel is a bad ass.
The team announced at a press conference this afternoon that the longtime radio broadcaster, the voice that has narrated, if not propelled, its climb into Major League Baseball's upper ranks, is the 2012 inductee into the team's hall of fame.
Nadel's greatness was much celebrated by my predecessor, but I'll take the occasion to give my two cents. Nadel has been announcing the Rangers' radio broadcasts for 34 years, seven years longer than I've been alive. Hs voice was the soundtrack of sorts for cool summer evenings as a boy. I've since lived in other media markets and listened to other baseball teams, but their voices have always sounded tinny and hollow, corn syrup to Nadel's butterscotch.
Who knew that he first decided to be a broadcaster while listening to a Yankees game; that he's an Ivy Leaguer; that he cut his teeth broadcasting minor league hockey, his original passion; that he started with the Rangers as a fourth-string announcer and part-time salesman?
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Nadel's greatness has long been recognized. He's won the Texas Sportscaster of the Year Award and is a two-time finalist for the equivalent national award. He called Nolan Ryan's 5,000th career strikeout in 1989, the record 30-run outburst in 2007, the final outs of the 2010 and 2011 American League Championship Series. He also taught himself to broadcast in Spanish.
It's gratifying that the Texas Rangers have blossomed from what the Associated Press, way way back in 2003, described as a "perennial cellar dweller" with a single playoff victory under its belt into something more worthy of the Voice, a team that has for two straight years been on the cusp of a World Championship.
Nadel becomes the 15th member of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame, joining Nolan Ryan, Kenny Rogers, Charlie Hough, Ruben Sierra and fellow broadcaster Mark Holtz. He is the only one who can say the phrase "A three run Jimmy Jack!" without sounding ridiculous.
Next time you see him, maybe at his birthday party, tell him congratulations.