Broadcaster Cardenes a finalist for Ford Frick Award

Considering the Astros are gearing up to celebrate the franchise’s 50th birthday, it’s only fitting that someone who was here in the very beginning is now eligible for a big honor next year.

Broadcaster and journalist Rene Cardenas, who helped create the first Spanish-language MLB broadcast in 1958 and spearheaded the Spanish broadcasting efforts with the Colt .45s in 1962, was announced on Wednesday as one of the 10 finalists for the 2012 Ford C. Frick Award. The honor is presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

For more than 50 years, Cardenas, a native of Nicaragua, has brought the excitement and passion of Major League Baseball to Hispanic communities across numerous countries. His work has been read or listened to throughout the United States, in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, his home country of Nicaragua, and globally on the Internet.

Since his start in Major League Baseball in 1958, Cárdenas has been a pioneer for Spanish radio, television and print with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Astros and Texas Rangers.

Cardenas and Joe DiMaggio at the Astrodome (photo courtesy of laestufacaliente.com)

Since the inception of the Houston franchise in 1962 with the creation of the Colt 45s, Cárdenas has served the organization in various capacities for more than 23 years. He has broadcast in all three of the franchise’s ballparks, including Colt Stadium, the Astrodome and Minute Maid Park, and has served in the front office as director of Spanish broadcasting, public relations director for Latin America, and Spanish National and Internal news media relations director.

Cárdenas was inducted into the Nicaraguan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000 and into the Hall of Fame of the National Museum of U.S. Hispanic Heritage in 2002.

Following a career in broadcasting, René Cárdenas continues to cover baseball and the Astros by writing for Crónicas de los Astros, astrosdehouston.com, Astros Magazine and the Managua, Nicaragua, newspaper La Prensa. He also created his own MLB website, a noncommercial page with contributions from other Spanish baseball writers.

The 10 finalists for the 2012 Frick Award are: Skip Caray, Cardenas, Tom Cheek, Ken Coleman, Jacques Doucet, Bill King, Tim McCarver, Graham McNamee, Eric Nadel and Mike Shannon. The winner of the 2012 Frick Award will be announced on December 6 at the Baseball Winter Meetings and honored during Hall of Fame Weekend, July 20-23, 2012 in Cooperstown.

Final voting for the 2012 Frick Award will be conducted by a 20-member electorate, comprised of the 15 living Frick Award recipients and five broadcast historians/columnists, including past Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Jon Miller, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, 2011 Frick Award winner Dave Van Horne and Bob Wolff, and historians/columnists Bob Costas (NBC), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Stan Isaacs (formerly of NY Newsday), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian).

In more modern times, Cardenas is shown here interviewing J.D. Martinez.

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