Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#258 Manny Castillo - Seattle Mariners

Like Jesse Barfield in the last post, this is Manny Castillo's first solo Topps card.  He appeared on a three player card in the '81 set but did not have a '82 card.
This card has quite a mish mash of colors: yellow, hot pink, green, baby blue.  I like Castillo's dirty uniform but he loses points in my book for his weak mustache.

Player: Manny Castillo was signed by the Mets as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1973.  He played three years in the Mets chain and four in the Cardinals farm system before he was acquired by the Royals in 1980. 

Castillo got into seven games for the Royals in '80 and went two-for-ten at the plate.  He spent all of '81 back at AAA, and in what turned out to be a very good trade for the Royals, was swapped for lefty hurler Bud Black. 

The switch-hitting Castillo was the starter at the hot corner for Seattle in '82.  He hit right handed pitching much better than lefties (.272/.192), and was platooned in the second half.  For the season he hit .257/.286/.336 with 3 HR in 541 plate appearances. 

In '83, he batted just .207 in 203 at bats as a reserve infielder and was released the following spring.  He spent '84 in the Blue Jays organization and played in Mexico through the '88 season but never made it back to the majors.

Flipside:  I find Castillo's 1957 birth date a little suspicious.  Research show he signed with the Mets on March 3, 1973 and had his 16th birthday on April Fools day just four weeks later.  At just 5'9" as an adult, I imagine a 17 or 18 year old Castillo could have easily passed for 15 or 16.

Oddball:  Castillo had a pretty poor career but he wasn't the worst Castillo in the majors.  Although not related, Marty Castillo shared the same weak bat.  Marty, a backup third sacker and catcher for the Tigers, put up a .190/.231/.301 line over the '81-'85 seasons.

History:  Manny Castillo hit over .320 three times in the minors but failed to produce in the bigs.  He played well below replacement level (-2.4 WAR) and even pitched pitched poorly when given the chance.  Castillo got rocked for seven runs in 2.2 innings on 6/26/83 which is humorously noted at this link.

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