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."
Due to Minor League playoffs, Astros to limit callups
HOUSTON -- Clubs will be cleared to expand their rosters on Sunday, but don't expect a huge wave of Minor Leaguers to join the Astros that early.
With at least five farm teams heading to the playoffs, it's unlikely the Astros are going to disrupt the flow of a championship push by plucking a bunch of players from the upper levels of their organization.
Triple-A Oklahoma City entered play Friday with a commanding 80-60 record and a playoff spot already wrapped up. That greatly affects how the Astros will act on Sunday and beyond.
Manager Bo Porter said they'll bring a small wave of players up on Sept. 1, and then have "a few more guys" join the club after the playoffs.
"They've played so well all year and put themselves in position to have this opportunity to win a championship," Porter said. "From an organization standpoint we are going to call up a few guys, but we are going to be cognizant to make sure they have the pieces to compete for a championship, because they've done a great job all year. We're not going to strip their team down at this juncture because we have the opportunity to call people up in September."
Astros to wear NFL jerseys on themed road trip
HOUSTON -- Themed road trips are becoming somewhat of a trend among Major League teams these days, and count the Astros as one club that has jumped onto that bandwagon.
Utilized mostly as an exercise in team unity -- with the additional intention to keep things loose during a long, and often trying, season, themed road trips usually involve members of the traveling party being instructed to dress in a certain predetermined garb, usually decided on by the manager and/or coaching staff.
The Astros will don NFL jerseys when they head out to Oakland on Sept. 4. Manager Bo Porter expects players to determine their jerseys based on their hometown team loyalties.
"I think you'll see guys wearing the jersey of their favorite team, or favorite player," Porter said. "A lot of guys may wear jerseys of guys that played at their college that are now playing in the NFL. Maybe a combination of different things."
Porter said he'll stick with the local team, supporting the Texans by wearing an Andre Johnson jersey.
• On this date in Astros history -- Aug. 30, 1969: In the Astrodome, Larry Dierker became the first Astros pitcher to record 17 wins in a season with a 2-1, complete-game win over the Pirates. Dierker fanned 14 while scattering seven hits. The still-new Astros were in unchartered territory at this point, seven games over .500 and four games out of first place in the NL West.
• Jason Castro entered Friday's game with an eight-game hitting streak, during which he was batting .500 (13-for-26) with four home runs and seven RBIs. In August, Castro was hitting .360 with five homers, 14 RBIs and a 1.132 OPS.
• Olympic gold and silver medalist and native Texan Cat Osterman threw out the ceremonial first pitch and took part in an autograph session as part of Cat Osterman Night at Minute Maid Park on Friday. Osterman pitched on the USA women's Softball Olympic Team, which won gold in 2004 and silver in '08. She was a four-time All-American starting pitcher for the Texas Longhorns, held the NCAA Division I career strikeout record and is still the NCAA all-time leader for strikeouts per seven innings.