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Collected Wisdom: Eric Nadel, Texas Rangers radio broadcaster

The longtime radio voice of the Texas Rangers began his career as a hockey announcer before growing frustrated with the business to the point he was looking at other options before moving to Oklahoma City and then Dallas.
by Jacob Unruh Published: January 12, 2013
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For me going to Oklahoma City was like going to Hollywood because the town that I was coming from had one movie theater and was a town of under 50,000. Here I was going to at least a major metropolitan area with concerts and multiple entertainment choices and an unbelievable facility in the Myriad, where I got to see The Who and Elvis Presley and all sorts of major stars.

Ray Miron and I were trying to convince Toronto (Maple Leafs) and Chicago (Blackhawks) to locate the franchise in Oklahoma City (when the two NHL teams combined their minor league operation). But Chicago insisted on keeping the franchise in Dallas, so Toronto pulled out of Oklahoma City and moved into Dallas with Chicago as their partner. Fortunately for me the broadcaster in Dallas was about to retire so there was a job open there for me. But I really regretted having to leave Oklahoma City at the time.

It turned out to be another incredibly lucky move for me. By being in Dallas my broadcasts were heard by, well as it turned out my broadcasts were heard by the people who run the Texas Rangers.

I always felt I was just lucky to be there and I had great broadcast partners who helped me learn how to do baseball.

(Mark Holtz) was the best partner you could ever have. We had so much fun together. It didn't really matter that the team wasn't that good.

I'm not going to lie to you, it's a lot easier to do games that are meaningful than games that are not. But for years and years I never had the experience of doing meaningful games in September, so when that finally started happening in the 90s, that was a great awakening.

He was a great friend in addition to being a broadcast partner. He just had the same sort of attitude about the game throughout the broadcast that I did. We both knew the game well and we were both going to do a serious baseball broadcast when it was called for, but it wasn't brain surgery, and we were going to have as much fun as we could and be as entertaining as we could.

Probably the hardest game I ever had to do was when he passed away in 1997. We were in Toronto and he died early that morning, and Brad Sham was my partner then and he was gone doing a football game, and I had to do the game that day by myself. Fortunately, Roger Clemens was on his game that day for Toronto and shut the Rangers out in about 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Once we got to the World Series, I told people it was like broadcasting in heaven.

In 2010 it didn't even matter whether the Rangers won the World Series, we were there. In 2011 it mattered and it was just crushing when Game 6 came down the way it did.

I haven't watched a moment of it since then. The only times I've heard my calls have been in my sleep where I hear my call on the ball that (Nelson) Cruz didn't catch. I'm not sure that any of us will ever be fully recovered from that loss, until at least the Rangers finally win it all.

It was almost surreal to go from being the best team in baseball almost the entire season to a team that just couldn't win a game the last two weeks of the season (in 2012). While it's happening, you don't even realize what's happening; you're pretty much just going game to game and then you look back on it when it's over and say how in the world did that happen.

Truly anything can happen. It was beyond the realm of probability and I'm still not sure exactly how it happened; there's all kind of theories. But it was very disappointing and still for me was much easier to shake off than the disappointment of the 2011 World Series.

I think each of the three years I've been on the (Ford C. Frick) ballot, the right person won and the deserving person won. In my mind there are a lot of broadcasters who haven't won this award who deserve to win it. Maybe my time will come eventually and maybe it will come soon, but just being on that list of 10 nominees is an unbelievable honor.

I never really aspired to do a network position and once I had this job my main priority was keeping it from year to year, you know not giving it up. So when they offered long-term security, it wasn't a real hard decision.

by Jacob Unruh
Reporter
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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