HOUSTON -- Rene Cardenas' history with the Houston organization dates back to 1962, when Judge Roy Hofheinz, the most instrumental force in bringing the National League franchise to the Bayou City, hired him to be the Director of the Spanish Division for the Colt .45s.
Cardenas stayed with the Astros through 1975 and eventually moved on to the Rangers and the Dodgers, but he found his way back to his original club in 2000 and has been here ever since. His long and storied career as a broadcaster and journalist is widely regarded in the industry, as evidenced by a recent honor he received from those who work alongside him in the press box at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros announced on Friday that Cardenas is the newest electee to the Media Wall of Honor, which annually honors a local figure for his or her significant and lasting contributions to the landscape of Houston baseball through work in journalism or broadcasting. Cardenas, who has amassed 67 years of service to the Colt .45s, Astros and Major League Baseball, will be honored during a pregame ceremony on Sept. 14. Incidentally, and unrelated to this award, he will also throw out the first pitch on Sept. 13 at the Sugar Land Skeeters game as part of their Hispanic Heritage Night.
"I am on cloud nine right now," Cardenas said. "I've been with this ballclub almost 28 years -- radio, TV and journalism. I saw all those guys go into the Wall and I said to myself, 'Maybe one day, maybe one day.' Then it happened this year."
Cardenas is the seventh individual to be elected to the Wall, joining media pioneer Anita Martini (2007), former Astros radio broadcaster Gene Elston ('08), former Chronicle beat writer Neil Hohlfeld (2009), former Chronicle columnist Mickey Herskowitz ('10), television play-by-play announcer Bill Brown ('11) and retired radio announcer Milo Hamilton ('12).
Cardenas, a native of Managua, Nicaragua, started his professional baseball broadcast career with the Dodgers in 1958, becoming one of the first members of a Spanish radio broadcast team in the history of Major League Baseball. In the coming years, Cardenas further made history as a pioneer, as he and his team became the first Spanish radio broadcast team to call a World Series ('59) and an All-Star Game ('61).
He returned to Houston in 2000, when he began writing for the club. He returned to Spanish radio broadcast in '07 and in '08, became a television broadcaster for the team. He now writes for La Prensa, as well as the Astros Gameday Magazine and La Voz.
Among Cardenas' many honors are a place in both the Texas Rangers and former Dodgers Walks of Fame, and three nominations for the Ford C. Frick award in 1993, 2010 and '11.
Cardenas said the Media Wall of Honor recognition is extra special, because he was voted in by his peers. Local baseball reporters and broadcasters are asked to vote each year to determine the winner. Nearly every time, the top vote-getter has entered the Wall of Honor, which is displayed by pictorial plaques on the press level at Minute Maid Park.
"My picture is on the Wall of Honor at Dodger Stadium. My picture is on the Wall of Honor at the [Rangers] stadium," Cardenas said. "I worked for those two ballclubs. But they just put my picture there. Here, I was elected. That's a big difference. I think it's wonderful."