Nadel honored in prelude to Hall of Fame ceremony
Ford C. Frick Award winner gets tribute before Saturday night's game
ARLINGTON -- As the music played and the burgundy convertible rounded the corner from the left-field gate, Eric Nadel sat on top of the seat and began to wave.
For more than 35 years Rangers fans have heard the 38th recipient of baseball's highest broadcasting honor on their radios and in their homes. But on Saturday, they saw Nadel's face, too.
Nadel joined the Rangers broadcast team in 1979 and will be presented the Ford C. Frick Award during the National Baseball Hall of Fame's induction weekend, which is July 26 in Cooperstown, N.Y. He was honored before the Rangers took on the Angels Saturday in the third of a four-game series.
As he stepped out of the convertible and took his place in a white lawn chair behind the podium, colleagues and friends pretended to bow down to him. Fans cheered. Four signs with his name on it adorned the area in front of the pitcher's mound, one completely filled with signatures from friends.
FOX Sports Southwest's John Rhadigan introduced Nadel, who has won the AP award for best play-by-play announcer in Texas twice, and is a seven-time Texas Sportscaster of the Year winner.
Then, several faces popped up on the video board, all with a personal message to Nadel.
The first was Jeff Idelson, the president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
"For 35 years, you have taken Texas Rangers baseball and brought it to life in the living rooms of homes," he told Nadel. "Great work ... we look forward to seeing you in just a few weeks."
Following Idelson, former winners -- Jaime Jarrin, Denny Matthews, Dave Van Horne, Milo Hamilton, Marty Brennaman, Jon Miller, Bob Uecker, Marv Albert and Vin Scully -- all addressed Nadel.
Miller was there for the first game Nadel ever worked. Scully said Nadel was due for the honor at any point.
"I'm delighted to join all of your friends and family," Scully said. "With 36 years with the Rangers, it's about time ... welcome to the club."
Announcers Chuck Cooperstein of the Mavericks, Brad Sham of the Cowboys and Ralph Strangis of the Stars presented Nadel with a Crystal Microphone.
"You and the Rangers fans have been the backbone for the Texas Rangers through the good times and the bad -- from the beginning," Sham said. "Eric Nadel is a Texas Ranger through and through."
Nadel had the support of many -- his colleagues, his family, his friends. Former president George W. Bush even sent a letter to all members of the Frick Award selection committee last fall, recommending Nadel for the award. Nadel received the original copy of the letter Saturday.
"His passion for the sport is evident in every broadcast," Bush had written. "Eric brings his listeners to the stadium."
Finally Nadel himself made his way to the podium.
"It's been an incredible joy," Nadel said. "One city, one team. This team. The Texas Rangers."
In the middle of the third inning, FOX broadcaster Joe Buck paid tribute to Nadel on the video board and the crowd gave him an extended standing ovation. Buck is the son of the late Jack Buck, another Frick winner.
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.