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Molina is voice of White Sox for Spanish-speaking fans

Molina is voice of White Sox for Spanish-speaking fans

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CHICAGO -- Hector Molina's job isn't much different from that of Ed Farmer or Ken "Hawk" Harrelson.

He stands as one of the voices of the White Sox. The only difference for the native of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, is that his broadcasts are Spanish language and run on 97.5 FM ESPN Deportes in Chicago.

"We prepare the same. I think it's the same thing," said Molina in comparing announcing duties. "It's just the language that changes."

Molina started his broadcast career with the Cubs in 1987, but he was doing amateur baseball in Puerto Rico long before that professional job. He's broadcast games for the Brewers, as well as branching out into other Chicago sports with the Bears and the Bulls.

Molina's first stint with the White Sox ran from 1992-99, when he was paired with Chico Carrasquel, the legendary infielder who played for the White Sox from 1950-55. During his time with Carrasquel, Molina found out firsthand the true popularity of his partner in the booth.

"I was a co-star of the series. He was the star," said Molina of Carrasquel. "He was such an easy guy to get along with. I guess he had the biggest 65- to 81-years-old fan club throughout the United States. He was a favorite in Detroit, Boston, Yankee Stadium.

"They remembered him in the old County Stadium in Milwaukee. He would say, 'I have to take care of my fan club.' Chico could tell me what was going to happen in the next play according to what he studied. Chico was a manager also. So, you learn a lot from him. I learned a lot from him."

Billy Russo presently works with Molina as the analyst on the White Sox Spanish-language radio broadcasts, with the duo handling the White Sox schedule for a second straight season. They broadcast the road games even though they don't travel with the team.

The married father of five and grandfather of four also is a veteran of the Vietnam War, having served as a radio operator for an Army infantry unit. It was a startling 14-month experience for the then 19-year-old.

"Too many things [going on] -- coming from a small town, where the closest people with blood that you see is when you fall and break your leg or cut yourself," Molina said. "It was difficult. But sometimes you go along with it because it's your survival. This is your life."

Now, Molina's life is baseball. It has been for quite some time.

His original goal was to be a player. When Molina realized he "didn't have any arm, my speed wasn't good and I couldn't hit," he took that love of the game into the broadcasting booth and now shares it with Chicago.

"Oh, yes, I enjoy every bit of it," Molina said. "I put my family through hell when we start traveling because I was doing Sox and Bulls [games] at the same time. So from one season I jumped to another. I didn't have time for a vacation. My vacation is every time I visit New York or Seattle or Los Angeles or San Antonio."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["hispanic_heritage_month" ] }
{"event":["hispanic_heritage_month" ] }
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