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 enter the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Cardenas on Wednesday was named 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. This is his second consecutive year as a finalist.
The other finalists are: Skip Caray, Tom Cheek, Ken Coleman, Jacques Doucet, Bill King, Tim McCarver, Graham McNamee, Eric Nadel and Mike Shannon.
The winner of the 2012 Frick Award will be announced on Dec. 6 at the Winter Meetings and honored during Hall of Fame Weekend, July 20-23, 2012, in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Cardenas broadcasted games in Spanish for 38 years. He teamed with 1998 Ford C. Frick recipient Jaime Jarrin in Los Angeles from 1958-61 before moving to the expansion Houston franchise in '62, pioneering Spanish-langue 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.
As part of the process, three finalists were selected by the fans during online balloting in September on the Hall of Fame's Facebook page.
A total of 37,212 votes were cast, a record under the current voting format. The three fan choices, respectively, are Shannon, Cheek and Doucet.
The remaining seven candidates were selected by a Hall of Fame research committee. McCarver, Nadel and Shannon are the active broadcasters on the ballot. Cardenas and Doucet are the only other living candidates among the finalists.
Final voting for the award will be conducted by a 20-member electorate, comprised of the 15 living Frick Award recipients and five broadcast historians/columnists, including past Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Jon Miller, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, David Van Horne and Bob Wolff; and historians/columnists Bob Costas (NBC), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Stan Isaacs (formerly of Newsday), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian).
Van Horne was the 2011 Frick Award winner.
Caray broadcast Braves games on TBS for 33 years; Cheek broadcast 31 Major League seasons covering the Montreal Expos (1974-76) and Toronto Blue Jays (1977-2004); Coleman spent 35 years with the Indians (1954-63), Reds (1975-78) and Red Sox (1966-74, 79-89); Doucet spent his entire 34-year career broadcasting for the Expos as the play-by-play radio voice on their French network (1969-2004); King worked for 25 seasons (1981-2005) as the A's lead play-by-play voice on radio; McCarver has broadcast for 31 seasons, the past 16 for Fox on its national broadcast, and he has a string of 21 seasons working the postseason; McNamee was a national pioneer in sports broadcasting, calling games for 13 seasons for Westinghouse and NBC, also calling 12 World Series; Nadel has spent the past 33 seasons with the Rangers, the longest tenure of any announcer in franchise history, and Shannon has called Cardinals games for 40 years following a nine-year playing career in St. Louis.
Frick Award voters look at a number of criteria, including longevity, continuity with a club, honors, national assignments, such as the World Series and All-Star Games, and popularity with fans.
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.