Eric Nadel Named 2014 Ford C. Frick Award Winner for Broadcasting Excellence

December 11, 2013
2014 Ford C. Frick Award winner Eric Nadel. (Texas Rangers)

(COOPERSTOWN, NY)Eric Nadel, who has spent the last 35 years as the voice of the Texas Rangers, has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

"I'm so excited and tremendously flattered by this honor," Nadel said. "As a kid from Brooklyn who was a radio junkie, I grew up idolizing six of the past winners of the Frick Award. It is mind-boggling for me to be a part of the list of winners. To arrive at this level of recognition, I'm very, very proud."

Nadel will be recognized during the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 26, as part of Hall of Fame Weekend 2014. Nadel becomes the first primary voice of the Texas Rangers to be honored with the Frick Award, as he earned the highest point total in a vote conducted by the Hall of Fame’s 20-member Frick Award Committee.

“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,” said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “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.”

Born May 15, 1951, Nadel grew up in Brooklyn as a Dodgers fan and graduated from Brown University in 1972 with a sports broadcasting career in his sights. After calling pro hockey and basketball games for most of the 1970s, Nadel was hired by the Rangers in 1979. He teamed with Mark Holtz on Rangers radio from 1982-94, then took over as the team’s lead radio voice in 1995. He called Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th career strikeout on Aug. 22, 1989, and has been the narrator for the Rangers’ six playoff berths and two American League pennants since 1996.

Nadel learned Spanish upon the arrival of many Latin American stars on the Rangers in the 1980s and has called games in Spanish in Latin American countries during the MLB offseason. Nadel, who’s signature home run call, “That ball is history!,” has become a part of the Rangers’ lexicon.

Nadel, who is a member of both the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame and the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame,  will be honored at the Hall of Fame’s Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 26 in Cooperstown, along with 2014 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Roger Angell, who was selected by the BBWAA on December 10. Joe Garagiola will also be honored during the event with the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.

Managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre, who were elected on Dec. 9 by the Expansion Era Committee, will be inducted as part of Hall of Fame Ceremonies on July 27, along with any electees who emerge from 2014 Baseball Writers’ Association of America election, to be announced Jan. 8.

Nadel was chosen from a list of 10 finalists selected in October, featuring three fan selections from an online vote and seven broadcasters chosen by a research committee from the Cooperstown-based museum. The final ballot featured broadcasters whose main contributions came from the mid-1980s to the present, identified as the High Tide Era following the restructuring of the Frick Award election process by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors this summer. The 10 finalists were: Joe Castiglione, Jacques Doucet, Ken Harrelson, Bill King, Duane Kuiper, Eric Nadel, Eduardo Ortega, Mike Shannon, Dewayne Staats and Pete Van Wieren. In September, a total of 20,968 votes were cast in the Museum’s online fan poll for inclusion on the final 10-name ballot, with Doucet, King and Kuiper as the top three fan poll selections.

The 20-member electorate, comprised of the 16 living Frick Award recipients and four broadcast historians/columnists, includes Frick honorees 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, and historians/columnists Bob Costas (NBC/MLB Network), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian). 

The Ford C. Frick Award is voted upon annually and is named in memory of the sportswriter, radio broadcaster, National League president and Baseball commissioner.  The complete list of recipients includes:

Ford C. Frick Award Recipients

1978
Mel Allen 1990 By Saam 2003 Bob Uecker
  Red Barber 1991 Joe Garagiola 2004 Lon Simmons
1979 Bob Elson 1992 Milo Hamilton 2005 Jerry Coleman
1980 Russ Hodges 1993 Chuck Thompson 2006 Gene Elston
1981 Ernie Harwell 1994 Bob Murphy 2007 Denny Matthews
1982 Vin Scully 1995 Bob Wolff 2008 Dave Niehaus
1983 Jack Brickhouse 1996 Herb Carneal 2009 Tony Kubek
1984 Curt Gowdy 1997 Jimmy Dudley 2010 Jon Miller
1985 Buck Canel 1998 Jaime Jarrin 2011 Dave Van Horne
1986 Bob Prince 1999 Arch McDonald 2012 Tim McCarver
1987 Jack Buck 2000 Marty Brennaman 2013 Tom Cheek
1988 Lindsey Nelson 2001 Felo Ramirez 2014 Eric Nadel
1989 Harry Caray 2002 Harry Kalas    

 

Voters were asked to base their selections on the following criteria: longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity with fans. To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous major league broadcast service with a ball club, network, or a combination of the two.