He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, as a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and decided at a young age that he wanted to be a sports broadcaster. He developed his skills at Brown University (class of 1972) announcing hockey and football games on the college radio station (WBRU). He had minor league hockey play-by-play stints in Muskegon, Oklahoma City, and Dallas and was also the radio voice of the Dallas Diamonds of the Women's Professional Basketball League.
The Rangers hired Nadel in 1979, and he called games on television and radio in his first three seasons. Beginning in 1982, he began a 13-year run with Mark Holtz as the radio team on WBAP, returning to the television booth for one year in 1984. Nadel became the team's lead radio voice when Holtz moved to television in 1995. Since then, he has broadcast on KRLD radio. Among his most memorable calls was the 5000th strikeout of Nolan Ryan's career on August 22, 1989. Since becoming the primary play-by-play voice for the Rangers he has worked alongside Brad Sham, Vince Cotroneo, and Victor Rojas. Beginning in 2009, he was partnered with longtime ESPN and former Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs announcer Dave Barnett, who also did Rangers games on television with Brad Sham in the late-80s and early 90s. Since July 2012, Nadel has been joined by Matt Hicks in the radio booth.
His main home run call is "That ball is history!"
The arrival of Rubén Sierra in Texas motivated Nadel to learn Spanish. Nadel is now a fluent Spanish speaker, having taken part in Spanish-language game broadcasts in a number of Latin American countries. He is also the author of several books (see Bibliography). Since 1985, Nadel has also produced and recorded A Page From Baseball's Past radio features that run on the Rangers radio network.
He appeared as the Rangers' radio announcer in the film The Rookie in 2002.
In May 2006 Nadel announced that he has signed a "lifetime contract" with the Rangers, allowing him to continue on their broadcast team until he chooses to retire. He later said that he hopes to outlive his contract. At the conclusion of the 2008 season, Nadel joined a handful of broadcasters to call Major League Baseball games for 30 years, with the added distinction of calling all of them for one franchise.
Eric is active in animal causes and was one of the founders of the first leash free dog park in the DFW Metroplex at White Rock Lake in Dallas.
In 1991, Nadel was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame. He has received the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Texas Sportscaster of the Year Award seven times (1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011), and won the Associated Press award for Best Play by Play in Texas three times.
On August 11, 2012 Nadel became the 15th member inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.
On December 11, 2013, Nadel was 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. Nadel received the award at a ceremony in Doubleday Field on Saturday, July 26 as part of the Hall of Fame 2014 weekend festivities.
In recognition of his achievements, Eric's high school alma mater, Midwood High School at Brooklyn College, has created the Eric Nadel Memorial Award for Athletic Improvement and Character. It will be awarded annually to a deserving student athlete.
- Block, Zachary. "At the old ball game: Eric Nadel '72." Brown Alumni Magazine. March/April 2004. (ISSN 1520-863X)
- Nadel, Eric. The Night Wilt Scored 100: Tales from Basketball's Past . New York: Taylor Publishing, 1990. (ISBN 0-87833-662-1)
- Nadel, Eric. The Texas Rangers : The Authorized History. New York: Taylor Trade Publishing, 1997. (ISBN 0-87833-139-5)
- Nadel, Eric and Craig R. Wright. The Man Who Stole First Base: Tales from Baseball's Past . New York: Taylor Publishing, 1989. (ISBN 0-87833-633-8)