Remembering Bobby Castillo, Dodger Pitcher & Legend
By Jamie Rodriguez
Bobby Castillo was a great player, for his team and in his community.
Sadly, he died to soon, losing his fight against cancer June 30 at the age of 59.
The right-handed pitcher from Lincoln Heights played for the Dodgers from 1977 to 1981, doing his final stint with the team in 1985.
Bobby was in the Dodger’s bullpen during the 1981 World Series. Though he only pitched one inning against the New York Yankees, his influence on Dodger history was greater than just that one game.
You see, not only did Bobby Castillo help the great Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela perfect his third devastating pitch, the screwball, (a pitch Bobby also threw); he was always ready to counsel other players and to give advice to young ball players getting their start.
And he was always ready to help this community’s young people make good choices in life.
Bobby was humbled by the fact that he was looked up to with pride by Los Angeles and Southern CA youth, the Mexican-American community and by all baseball fans.
What I remember most about Bobby was his willingness to help young people and to always stop and talk to his fans. Bobby would let anyone who walked up to him look at his1981 World Series ring and take a picture, bringing so many smiles to so many Dodger fans.
Anyone who spent time with him probably heard many of his great stories about his days at Lincoln High School and his years as a professional baseball player.
Bobby was full of information about baseball history, players and team records. His baseball career has been documented in many articles and his story is included and permanently archived in the Special Collections section in the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library at Cal State University, Los Angeles, under “Mexican American Baseball.”
With friends, Bobby enjoyed dancing and listening to a variety of music, including R&B, Soul, Salsa, Jazz, Oldies and of course one of his favorite bands, LA’s own TIERRA.
Bobby Castillo was more than just a Dodger baseball player, he was a loving father to his daughters Mellanie and Sarah and son Robert III. He was a caring son to his mother Nellie, and good brother to his sister Lorraine.
And he was a good friend to many, including my family who like me will deeply miss his great sense of humor.
Over the years, I was fortunate to share many special times with my friend Bobby, like the time he consumed a lot of pancakes at my son’s boy scout troop’s benefit breakfast and my mother’s 90th birthday party.
Bobby was a true Dodger, through and through, remaining part of the organization’s community component. Every time he was asked by the team to go out and represent the franchise, he did it lovingly and proudly. Bobby willingly gave his time and self to support many important causes in our community.
Bobby “Babo” Castillo, a friend, legend and our hometown hero, we will miss you, but we know you are still keeping an eye on us from that great baseball park in the sky.
Jaime Rodriguez is a resident of Monterey Park. He has worked for several local legislators, but writes this letter as private citizen.
July 10, 2014 Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.