Rangers honor Nadel, 40th anniversary team

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers honored their past during pregame ceremonies Saturday.

The Rangers’ 40th Anniversary All-Time Team was introduced on the field followed by a special ceremony to induct longtime radio voice Eric Nadel into the club’s hall of fame.

Former pitcher — and current club president — Nolan Ryan received the loudest ovation as he was introduced to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington crowd.

Former catcher Pudge Rodriguez was a close second to Ryan in terms of fan reaction, as the crowd stood to applaud them and other Rangers greats such as Buddy Bell, Jeff Burroughs and Charlie Hough.

Three members of the current Rangers team — Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Neftali Feliz — were honored as members of the all-time team, which was chosen by an online fan vote.

The achievements of the all-time greats, wearing jerseys in the styles of their eras, were read over the public address system as they walked from the outfield wall to their old positions on the field.

Those who are members of the Rangers’ hall of fame remained on the field for the induction ceremony for Nadel, who becomes the 15th member of the group.

Nadel, who began broadcasting for the Rangers in 1979, also becomes the fifth member of the Rangers hall of fame selected in a non-playing capacity, joining former manager Johnny Oates, former Arlington mayor Tom Vandergriff and fellow broadcasters Mark Holtz and Tom Grieve. (Grieve is a also a former Rangers player and general manager.)

Rangers’ executive vice president of communications introduced Nadel and a video of highlights of Nadel’s 34-year career in the club’s radio booth followed.

“For Eric, broadcasting is all about description, detail and having fun,” Blake said. “He is the voice of Texas Rangers baseball.”

In 1982, Nadel was paired with play-by-play man Mark Holtz and the duo became one of the most popular broadcast teams in Dallas-Fort Worth history.

When Holtz moved to the television side in 1995, Nadel became the lead voice of the Rangers’ radio broadcasts and has held that position ever since. His famous calls have included Ryan’s 5,000th strikeout in 1989 and the final outs of the last two American League Championship Series that sent the Rangers to the World Series.

In his acceptance speech, Nadel thanked everyone involved with his long career, from broadcast partners to owners.

“I’d also like all of the players and managers who put up with my endless questions over the years,” said Nadel, who specifically thanked Ruben Sierra for inspiring him to learn Spanish so he could better communicate with many of the team’s new stars.

He concluded his speech with a heartfelt appreciation for the Rangers fans who have tuned into over the last 34 years.

“You have invited me to your homes, your cars, your workplaces, your computers and phones and all kinds of devices I have no idea how to operate,” Nadel said.

Nadel was a local minor league hockey announcer when he was hired by the Rangers. He had never done baseball on the radio before then, but the Brooklyn native grew up listening to legends like Mel Allen call the Yankees and Ralph Kiner on the Mets’ broadcasts.

“Ranger fans, we’ve gone through a lot together,” Nadel continued. “And I’m so lucky I’ve had the privilege of sharing with you my love for this amazing game.”

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire