Higueros' hard work lands him in broadcast booth
Giants' Spanish radio announcer preaches perseverance to Bay Area youth
SAN FRANCISCO -- Erwin Higueros works for the Giants as a Spanish-language radio broadcaster, media relations official and marketing representative.
As diverse as Higueros' duties are, his real field of expertise is hard work.
Higueros, 49, consistently worked two jobs before the Giants hired him full time in 2007. Though Higueros' broadcasting position is a prestigious one, he remains mindful of the rigorous road he took to reach this point. At various times, he worked at a sheet-metal company, as an assistant manager at a bank and as a midnight-shift disc jockey.
Moreover, Higueros wasn't steeped in American culture immediately. He moved to the United States at age 12.
So when Higueros delivers one of his frequent talks to Latin American schoolchildren, he emphasizes the importance of scholastics and the value of perseverance.
"I don't have a lot of money to give. But I think that there's more value if I donate my time," said Higueros, who recently received a community service award from the Baseball Hispanic Heritage Museum as Hispanic Heritage Month began.
Higueros has plenty to say. He grew up on 66th Avenue and Hegenberger Road in Oakland, a long foul ball away from the Oakland Coliseum.
"I think I had a guardian angel who took care of me, because I'm here," Higueros said recently. "I did not fall into gangs or drugs, so if I look back, I was lucky."
Higueros graduated from Oakland's Fremont High School in 1981 and began classes at Cal State-Hayward. The need to support his young family forced him to drop classes and go to work.
That didn't immediately involve radio. But a friend urged Higueros to attend the Columbia School of Broadcasting, which led to the DJ job at KNTA in San Jose, Calif.
"I think they were very desperate for a DJ, because they hired me even though I showed up an hour and a half late to the interview," Higueros recalled.
KNTA happened to be the flagship station for Spanish-language Oakland A's broadcasts.
"I said to myself, 'I can do that,'" Higueros said.
He proved himself right in 1988, when he began his play-by-play announcing career by calling A's home games, earning $25 per broadcast.
Higueros switched to the Giants in 1998, making this his 16th season in the club's Spanish-speaking broadcast booth. Higueros' partner is former Giants second baseman Tito Fuentes, a popular figure during his 1965-74 stint in San Francisco.
"The Giants are extremely fortunate to have Erwin as a part of our team," said Staci Slaughter, the Giants' senior vice president of communications. "He cares deeply about the community and is committed to helping those less fortunate. Erwin, along with Tito, are tremendous Giants ambassadors who work tirelessly to connect the team with our Spanish-speaking fans."
Anyone who works in baseball gets consumed by the game to some degree. But Higueros has maintained perspective. He began speaking to schoolchildren about three years ago, realizing that describing the exploits of the Giants wasn't enough.
"I want to give back to the community. That's No. 1," he said. "I have never thought of me being a big shot. But at the same time, I came to realize that I have a high-profile job. And maybe there are some little kids who may look up to me. I thought that it would be nice to talk to kids from school, especially when you think about my upbringing."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.