Caminiti, Cárdenas set to enter Astros' HOF in 2024

January 21st, 2024

HOUSTON -- A joyous occasion became even more of a reason for celebration on Friday for the family of former Astros third baseman Ken Caminiti. While the family was gathered in New Orleans for the wedding of Lindsey Caminiti -- one of Ken’s daughters -- Craig Biggio was in attendance and able to inform Caminiti’s three daughters and their mother that Ken was being inducted into the Astros Hall of Fame.

Caminiti and longtime Spanish radio broadcaster René Cárdenas were announced Saturday as the Astros’ Hall of Fame class for 2024. They were elected by the Astros Hall of Fame committee, which consists of former Astros players, current front office staff, members of the media and Houston-area baseball historians. Biggio is on the committee.

“I think it’s really special and exciting for him and his family and his girls to be able to have their dad go into the Houston Astros Hall of Fame where he played 10 years of his life and was a great player for us,” Biggio said.

At the wedding in New Orleans, Biggio posed for a picture with Caminiti’s daughters -- Kendall, Lindsey and Nicole -- and their mother, Nancy, while giving a thumbs up in celebration of the news.

“The girls are really excited, obviously,” Biggio said.

Caminiti, who died in 2004, and Cárdenas will be inducted during a ceremony prior to the Astros’ Aug. 17 game against the White Sox at Minute Maid Park. They will receive an Astros Hall of Fame sports coat and Hall of Fame plaque. Caminiti will be represented by his family. He will become the 22nd player inducted, while Cárdenas will be the sixth non-player and fourth broadcaster inducted.

Here’s more on each 2024 inductee:

Caminiti (1987-94, 1999-2000)
During his 10 seasons in an Astros uniform, Caminiti developed a reputation as one of the best defensive third basemen of his era and one of the fiercest competitors. He combined range, soft hands and one of the best throwing arms in the game.

In his first six full seasons, Caminiti led all National League third basemen in games played at third base (841) and putouts (677), while ranking second in assists (1,545) and total chances (2,332). In franchise history, he ranks second all-time among third basemen in games (1,063), innings (9,043) and assists (1,906), as well as third in putouts (828).

Offensively, Caminiti ranks third among Astros third basemen in career RBIs with 546, which ranks 11th in franchise history. Among Houston switch-hitters, he ranks second to only Lance Berkman in several categories, including home runs, RBIs and doubles. Caminiti hit .471 (8-for-17) with three home runs, eight RBIs and a 1.526 OPS in the 1999 NL Division Series vs. Atlanta.

In addition to his 10 seasons in Houston, Caminiti also played four seasons with the Padres (1995-98) and had brief stints with the Rangers and Braves. He was the 1996 NL Most Valuable Player.

Cárdenas (1961-74, 2007-08)
Cárdenas was a broadcasting pioneer for both the Colt .45s/Astros organization and for Major League Baseball. In 1958, he became the first full-time Spanish-language broadcaster to call games for a Major League team when he joined the Dodgers as their original Spanish radio broadcaster.

In 1961, he was hired by the expansion Colt .45s to pioneer their Spanish radio broadcasts as both their first broadcaster and as their director of Spanish broadcasting. By 1966, Cárdenas had created the first international radio network for baseball to help the Astros recruit talent in South America and Central America. That network reached 13 countries in those regions.

Cárdenas called Astros games for 14 seasons before returning to his native Nicaragua in 1975, where he called baseball games on both television and radio. In 1982, he returned to Los Angeles and called games for the Dodgers for several seasons before returning to the Astros’ Spanish radio broadcast in 2007 and '08. He also called several of Houston's '08 games in Spanish on television for the first time.

After retiring from the broadcast booth, Cárdenas wrote for the Astros' Spanish-language website for several years, as well as for La Prensa, a Nicaraguan newspaper. Cárdenas also called high-profile events in other sports, including the famous Muhammad Ali-Jimmy Ellis heavyweight boxing match that took place in the Astrodome in 1971.