Barry Horn’s Hot Seat: with Eric Nadel
In his 32nd season in the Rangers’ broadcast booth, Eric Nadel will finally call his first World Series game tonight. Nadel joined the Rangers in 1979 after calling minor league hockey for the Dallas Blackhawks. He worked radio and television that season and sold advertising as well. He spent three seasons moving back and forth between TV and radio before settling into a radio life.
Can you recall the date, your booth mate and opponent for your first Rangers broadcast?
Opening day 1979, at Detroit, Saturday afternoon, April 7. I worked on TV with Frank Glieber, and on radio with Jon Miller and Bill Merrill. The Rangers won, 8-2, on a cold day at Tiger Stadium. Johnny Grubb , second batter of the game, hit a home run, and Fergie Jenkins pitched a complete game. I broke the zipper on the fly of my pants on a bathroom trip in the middle innings. Then I had to go down to the field and do a postgame TV interview with Fergie. I only had a sport jacket on, so Frank Glieber gave me his white trench coat, which was about 4 sizes too large.
Do you remember the first time you broke out the “that ball is history?” home run call?
I used it for the first Rangers homer I ever called. Johnny Grubb hit it the opposite way down the left-field line at the Kingdome in Seattle . Grubb sliced a twisting drive that wasn’t really hit that well. I thought it would be caught or go off the wall. I was waiting to see what would happen, and I said, “that ball is …” and when it cleared the wall, the word “history” came out. I have used it ever since.
What has been the lowest Rangers moment you broadcasted?
Probably the last day of the 1984 season when the Rangers were the victims of a perfect game by Mike Witt at Arlington Stadium. The 1983 season had been promising under new manager Doug Rader, and 1984 was a disaster.
What’s your daily game day routine to preserve your voice?
I drink tons of water, and at least two cups of green tea, which is supposed to be a great antioxidant. I do warm-up voice exercises in the car on the way to the ballpark. If I have any congestion in my throat, I have a disgusting gargle that I use that has to be chased with a strong mint or I could get arrested.
The only thing I knew I would say was, “The Rangers are going to the World Series.” The way the crowd exploded on the final pitch, all I wanted to do was get out of the way and let the listeners experience the crowd. I had thought about possibly putting it all in historical perspective, so after letting the crowd roar for over 30 seconds, I came back with the rest of the call. “In the 50th year of the franchise, in their 39th year in Texas, under a full moon in Arlington, the Rangers have won the American Leaguepennant.” … I was doing all I could to not bounce off the walls of the booth.
Do you use a different style in the postseason?
Yes, in the first two rounds I gave much less background information. I concentrate much more on describing every pitch, the way the defense is positioned, what the pitcher and batter are doing because every pitch is crucial now. With the Giants in the World Series, I will give a little more information since our fans probably don’t know them well