Broadcast pioneer Cardenas a Frick Award finalist
He created first Spanish-language MLB program, called Astros games for 16 years
HOUSTON -- Rene Cardenas, who created the first Spanish-language Major League Baseball broadcast in 1958 while with the Dodgers and later called games in Spanish for the Astros for 16 years, has again been named one of 10 finalists to be recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Cardenas was named on Friday as a finalist for the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He was also named a finalist for the award in 2010 and '11.
Cardenas still lives in Houston and writes columns about the Astros for La Prensa, a Spanish-language paper based in Nicaragua. Last year, he was inducted into the Houston Baseball Media Wall of Honor.
The other finalists for the 2015 Frick Award are Richie Ashburn, Billy Berroa, Dizzy Dean, Dick Enberg, Ernie Johnson Sr., Ralph Kiner, Ned Martin, Joe Nuxhall and Jack Quinlan. The winner will be announced on Dec. 10 at the Winter Meetings and will be honored during the weekend of July 25 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Cardenas broadcast games in Spanish for 38 years. He teamed with 1998 Frick Award recipient Jaime Jarrin in Los Angeles from 1958-61, before moving to the expansion Houston franchise in '62, pioneering Spanish-language baseball in Houston as a broadcast director and announcer from 1962-77.
He conceived and organized the first international broadcasting network in Spanish from Houston to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, before returning to baseball in 1981 and calling Rangers games. He teamed again with Jarrin on Dodgers broadcasts from 1982-88.
Cardenas was inducted into the Nicaraguan baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. He began his career at age 20 in that country and broadcast winter baseball games for several seasons.
The 10 finalists for the 2015 Frick Award include three fan selections chosen through online balloting at the Hall of Fame's Facebook page in September: Enberg, Kiner and Quinlan. The other seven candidates were chosen by a Hall of Fame research committee. Cardenas and Enberg are the only living candidates on the ballot.
Final voting for the 2015 Frick Award will be conducted by a 20-member electorate, comprised of the 15 living Frick Award recipients, including Milo Hamilton and Gene Elston of the Astros, and five broadcast historians/columnists.
To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous Major League broadcast service with a ballclub, network or a combination of the two. More than 40 broadcasters were eligible for consideration for the award based on these qualifications for 2015.
The annual award is named in memory of Hall of Famer Ford C. Frick, renowned sportswriter, radio broadcaster, National League president and baseball Commissioner.