Holtz headlines Rangers' Frick eligibles

Holtz headlines Rangers' Frick eligibles

Mark Holtz used to put the punctuation on every Rangers victory by proclaiming, "Hello win column!"

There were other trademarks he had during his 17-year tenure as the club's broadcaster. For example, all Rangers fans knew what was happening when a second baseman fired his relay to first and Holtz yelled, "Dip coming!"

But "Hello win column" remains prominent, and the Rangers still flash it on the scoreboard after every victory at Ameriquest Field in Arlington.

They still remember Holtz in Arlington, where he was a broadcaster for the Rangers from 1981 until he passed away in 1997, and they still fish in Mark Holtz Lake, which lies between the ballpark and the Arlington Convention Center.

Holtz headlines a contingent of six local broadcasters who are up for the 2007 Ford C. Frick Award, an honor recognizing excellence in baseball broadcasting.

"In my opinion, Mark Holtz was the first announcer who truly got fans excited about listening to Rangers games," said Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel, who is also up for the award. "His ability to paint word pictures and capture the excitement of late-game dramatic moments was and still is unequaled.

"In addition, Mark's warm, friendly personality came through on the air, endearing him to Ranger fans from the moment he arrived. He informed and entertained a new generation of Ranger fans as the team was gaining credibility and more than doubling its attendance. His role in the growth of the team's following was enormous."

Online voting on MLB.com is under way for the award, with fans having the entire month of November to cast votes for up to three baseball broadcasters.

Presented annually since 1978 for excellence in baseball broadcasting, the Ford C. Frick Award is given to an active or retired broadcaster with a minimum of 10 years of continuous Major League broadcast service with a ballclub, network or a combination of the two.

Fans will have the opportunity to vote for up to three of the nearly 200 broadcasters eligible for consideration for the award. Fans are allowed to vote once daily. Results will be announced on Dec. 6. The fan selections, along with the full ballot of 10 candidates, will be announced in late January.

The final ballot will be comprised of the three fan selections, along with seven other candidates determined by a Hall of Fame staff research team. The Frick electorate includes all living award winners and six historians appointed by the Hall of Fame.

Holtz began his career with the Rangers as their television broadcaster before moving over to radio in 1982. He teamed with Nadel for 13 years before moving back into television in 1995. He passed away two years later.

He called four no-hitters and two perfect games. He was an eight-time Texas Sportscaster of the Year and was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.

Nadel has spent the past 28 years with the Rangers, including the last 12 as the lead voice for the radio broadcasts. He worked for the club longer than any other broadcaster and is a two-time Texas Sportscaster of the Year. He was elected to the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

Four others are up for consideration: Tom Grieve, Josh Lewin, Steve Busby and Norm Hitzges.

Grieve has been the Rangers' television analyst for the past 12 years after spending 10 years as the club's general manager. Lewin has been the Rangers' lead television broadcaster for the past five seasons after stints with the Orioles, Cubs and Tigers. He also does national games for FOX.

Busby worked with the Rangers for 14 years as a television play-by-play man and analyst, while Hitzges was one of the pioneers in cable broadcasting, working for the Rangers in 1981, 1986-89 and 1991-95. He is also a long-time sports-talk radio host with a substantial following in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.