ST. LOUIS – The Cardinals have a rich history when it comes to their ties to the Hispanic community. There is even a Spanish broadcast of the game for all home games that fans across the world can enjoy.
“We have people listening from Alaska, Germany, there was one guy listening from Germany, think about it, that is way out there. But with MLB at bat they could listen to us,” said Bengie Molina, host of the Spanish broadcast.
Molina and Polo Ascencio have been doing the broadcasts since 2017.
Molina played in the MLB and was also the Cardinals assistant hitting coach. You also may know him as the older brother to Yadier Molina.
Bengie Molina won a Gold Glove for his time as a catcher and talked proudly of Yadi receiving the Robert Clemente award.
“Yadi likes to do stuff under the radar,” said Bengie Molina.
Molina was referring to the work Yadi did in their homeland of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017.
The team’s ties to the Hispanic community were well known in the late 1960s. The team was known as El Birdos because there were so many Hispanic players on the team. They even won a world series. A section is dedicated to El Birdos at the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Louis.
“Before Jackie Robinson made it to the big leagues, there were a lot of Latinos playing baseball, but they were fair-skinned, they were white-skinned, they weren’t Black, or dark or brown . They looked your regular Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle,” said Ascencio.
One other Cardinals great that played with El Birdos, current Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon. Ascencio recalled meeting Shannon for the first time.
“I was nervous because you don’t know what he is going to say. He’s been the guy for so long. When they introduced me to him, he said what took them so long, he said bienvenidos amigo. He’s been great to us,” explained Ascencio.
The Cardinals also have a jersey with the word Cardinales printed on it. The team says they sell out of them every year.