An Interview with Eric Nadel

If you’ve followed the Rangers for any length of time, you probably know exactly who Eric Nadel is. Just in case, he’s the long time radio voice of the team and the newest member of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. I recently had the opportunity to ask him a few questions.
CK: Since I first approached you about doing an interview for shutdowinning.com, there has been quite an announcement in Rangerland. You were selected as the next member of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. How does it feel to belong to a club whose members include Nolan Ryan and Ferguson Jenkins?

EN: It’s somewhat overwhelming to join a group that includes stars of that stature. I have never thought of myself as any kind of a star, and it’s humbling to be included in that kind of company.

CK: Did you set out to be a broadcaster, or did you have other baseball or sports ambitions? What led you to your job as radio broadcaster for the Rangers?

EN: I wanted to be a sportscaster from the time I was about 8 years old. But while in college at Brown University, I was broadcasting hockey, and I thought that was my best shot at making it in this business. I was broadcasting minor league hockey for the Dallas Black Hawks when I got a call from the Rangers radio-tv network in 1978, asking if I would be interested in applying for a job with them.

CK: Who did you listen to on the radio growing up, and who has influenced your style over the years?

EN: I listened intently to Mel Allen, Red Barber and Phil Rizzuto on Yankee games, then when the Mets started playing in 1962, focused more on them, with Lindsay Nelson and Bob Murphy being their announcers. But it was actually Marv Albert, who broadcast NY Rangers hockey and NY Knicks basketball, who inspired me to definitely pursue a career in play-by-play broadcasting. Once I switched from hockey to baseball, and had to change styles dramatically, my early partners were my biggest and best influences….most notably Jon Miller in my first year, and Mark Holtz for the 13 years we worked together.

CK: You have worked for the Rangers since 1979 and have seen almost all of the great players that have passed through Arlington. Which ones have been your favorites to watch?

EN: In my first few years, Buddy Bell was definitely my favorite…so many incredible plays at 3b. Al Oliver, a line drive machine. Jim Kern coming out of the bullpen, pitching 3 innings at a time to get wins or saves. In the late ’80s, Ruben Sierra was a joy to watch. I’ll never forget him hitting two inside the park home runs in a 3 game series in KC. Nolan Ryan was a marvel to watch, and there was always the possibility of seeing something special. Julio Franco, until Josh Hamilton came along, was my favorite Rangers hitter to watch….he seemed to hit almost everything hard, even against the best pitchers. Pudge was in a class by himself with his arm, his bat, and his charisma. And the current Rangers are filled with favorites to watch from top to bottom, but watching Beltre play 3b is something very special.

CK: Even with 3D and HDTV technology, there are still a lot of fans that enjoy listening to the game on the radio. Why do you think that is so much more common with baseball than with other sports?

EN: I think the pace of baseball is more conducive to being enjoyed on the radio as the broadcast is much more conversational. And the nature of the game allows the fans [to believe] they are “seeing” the game through the eyes of the announcer if he is describing it well.

CK: I can replay your calls of several memorable Ranger moments in my head. What moments will you always remember calling?

EN: Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th strikeout was a national event. The Rangers scoring 30 runs in a game in Baltimore in 2007 was a ML record. Josh Hamilton’s 4th HR seemed superhuman to me. But most memorable to me was Feliz striking out Arod to clinch the Rangers’ first AL pennant in 2010. Of course, the two Cardinals’ 2-out hits that tied Game 6 of the World Series are unforgettable in quite a different way.

CK: What advice would you give to aspiring broadcasters out there trying to break into the business?

EN: Start practicing as soon as you think you want to do this for a living. Get a recorder and start doing “make believe” broadcasts. Listen to as many announcers as you can, and write down lists of the phrases they use in doing play-by-play and try to use those phrases.

CK: You’re a known animal lover. What kind of pets do you have, and what animal related charities do you support?

EN: We have a 13-year old lab-husky mix named Nemo, who we rescued from a shelter when he was a year old. We helped raise the money to build the first leash-free dog park in DFW, at Mockingbird Point in Dallas, and are very supportive of the SPCA of Texas. My wife, Jeannie, is a telephone counselor in their pet grief counseling program that helps people whose pets have died.

CK: Lastly, you have a birthday benefit concert coming up. Please tell us about that event and where to find more information.

EN: The concert is Thursday (May 24) at The Kessler Theater in Dallas. It stars Daphne Willis, and will benefit CONTACT Crisis Line and To Write Love On Her Arms. Tickets are on sale at http://www.thekessler.org

Chris Kautz is a Senior Staff Writer for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Chris.Kautz@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @SDIChris.
Chris Kautz

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