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Former broadcaster Cardenas has ties to Astros, Dodgers

Longtime announcer refuses to pick a favorite for the World Series
MLB.com @alysonfooter

LOS ANGELES -- Perhaps it's the broadcaster's objectivity in him, or maybe it's because he truly can't choose. Whatever the reason, longtime announcer and broadcast pioneer Rene Cardenas isn't picking a side ahead of Game 1 of the Fall Classic on Tuesday.

"My heart is with both teams," Cardenas said.

LOS ANGELES -- Perhaps it's the broadcaster's objectivity in him, or maybe it's because he truly can't choose. Whatever the reason, longtime announcer and broadcast pioneer Rene Cardenas isn't picking a side ahead of Game 1 of the Fall Classic on Tuesday.

"My heart is with both teams," Cardenas said.

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It's an understandable conundrum. Cardenas has deep ties to both the Astros and Dodgers and holds a special place in both organization's histories.

In 1958, Cardenas, a native of Nicaragua, became the first Spanish-language announcer in Major League history as part of the Dodgers' broadcasting crew.

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In 1961, Cardenas was lured away by the Houston organization, which at the time was on the cusp of its first season as a Major League franchise. Cardenas took the offer and became the first Spanish-language announcer for the expansion Colt .45s in 1962.

More than a half-century later, both of Cardenas' teams are playing in the World Series presented by YouTube TV. Cardenas will watch intently, but it's likely he won't be openly rooting for, or against, either team.

Apparently, this is a hot topic for those who know Cardenas and appreciate his history with both franchises.

"Even my wife says, 'What are you thinking about this?'" Cardenas said during a phone interview.

Well?

"Any team that wins the World Series will be fine with me," Cardenas said.

Cardenas, who resides in Houston, is still a regular presence in the Astros' press box. He writes columns about the Astros for La Prensa, a Spanish-language paper based in Nicaragua, and does some editorial work for the Astros.

As a broadcaster, Cardenas worked for the club until 1975, serving as a broadcaster and as a public relations representative for Latin American and Spanish media.

But Cardenas' Dodgers ties are deep, too.

In the early days, he mentored Jaime Jarrin, who to this day is still the Spanish voice of the Dodgers. Jarrin and Cardenas were reunited in 1982, when the latter returned to the Dodgers, and remained a part of the broadcast team until 1998.

Cardenas called the Dodgers' World Series win over the White Sox in 1959, and he was there the last time Los Angeles won a championship, in 1988.

"I remember starting with the Dodgers in 1958 and knowing I was starting something very special in my life," Cardenas said. "Those years with the Dodgers were the best years of my life. I thought I'd be with the Dodgers for several World Series."

When he first started with the Colt .45s in the 1962, Cardenas saw a franchise that had work to do to gain respectability. Decades later, he was a regular presence at Minute Maid Park in 2005, when the Astros won their first National League pennant, and he'll be there again later this week when the World Series shifts to Houston.

"I never thought I'd see this," he said. "I am so proud. They're fighting so hard."

But, Cardenas quickly added, so are the Dodgers.

"It's also something I'm so proud of," Cardenas said.

That puts Cardenas in an enviable position -- one unfamiliar to fanbases of either team. The end of the World Series will mean heartbreak for one city, and joy for another.

For Cardenas, there will only be joy.

"I will cheer for any player and any team," he said. "I don't think you can do anything else."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros