Alberto's dad inspires by overcoming adversity
Rangers infielder's role model forged broadcasting career after accident
ARLINGTON -- Tony Alberto was 20 years old and working as a machinist in the Dominican Republic town of San Francisco de Macoris when the accident happened.
A blade of an industrial-strength fan broke and sliced off his right arm halfway between his wrist and elbow. The arm could not be reattached and Alberto's career as an industrial mechanic was over.
His career in sports, however, was only beginning. The father of Rangers second baseman Hanser Alberto became a sports broadcast journalist, sort of the Eric Nadel/Dale Hansen of San Francisco de Macoris. Self-taught, he had a variety of enterprises, including broadcaster of the local Gigantes del Cibao, hosting a three-hour nationwide Major League Baseball radio show and hosting his own local television talk show.
"He learned it all on his own," Alberto said. "He has the No. 1-rated show because he talks not only about the local players, but all the Dominican players. Everybody knows him and he's really acquainted with them. He has a good relationship with everybody. He has been doing this for over 20 years."
Losing half of his right arm also did not keep Tony Alberto from continuing to play baseball.
"There is a handicapped league over in the Dominican," Alberto said. "It is for players who are disadvantaged. He played in that league for a lot of years. There are a lot of people who are disadvantaged and still like to play."
Hanser Alberto, reminiscing for Father's Day, is a Major League infielder, but he smiles in admiration when he thinks of his dad and his dad's teammates playing baseball, despite their individual situations. His father played first base.
"They learn how to do it even with one hand," Alberto said. "They do it quick, fast. They do it really, really fast. Amazing."
Tony has been an inspiration in many ways to his son. Hanser followed his father around the country as a broadcaster, took ground balls from him on a baseball field and learned much from him growing up in a comfortable neighborhood in a town of 245,397 on the northeast side of the Dominican Republic.
"I learned because I always traveled with him, every stadium and every place," Alberto said. "We have a very good relationship. He is not only my father but he is my like my friend. He has always supported me and given me good advice.
"It meant a lot to me, watching him play with one hand. He always told me that if he could do it … he said, 'You're complete, you have everything.' So that was something I really appreciated and really admired from him. To watch him do that, I had a dream to come here and play, it made me feel it was possible."
Now that Hanser is in the big leagues, it would seem like he would be a No. 1 topic of conversation on the Tony Alberto Show.
"He talks about me a little bit but not too much because he doesn't want people to get tired of hearing about me," Alberto said. "That's why doesn't talk that much about it.
"He doesn't criticize me because he always supports me. The only thing he tells me is don't hang my head, stay in charge of what I have to do. Be a good person and be positive. That's what he tells me."
Father has inspired son in another way. Hanser Alberto just arrived in the big leagues and is only 22 years old. But he may have another career in the works once his playing days are over.
Alberto's teammates call him "Radio" because he is always doing play-by-play around the batting cage or in the dugout during the games.
"I like it," Alberto said. "I'm always doing broadcasts at home -- basketball, baseball, whatever, by myself."
Tony Alberto has been an inspiration in many ways and that's why Hanser was eager to reminisce on Father's Day.