LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Robert “Bobby” Castillo died Monday morning after battling cancer. He was 59.
Castillo pitched for the Dodgers from 1977-1981, and again in 1985. He also was a member of the Minnesota Twins from 1982-1984.
“I was very saddened to hear about Bobby’s passing this morning,” Castillo’s former teammate Fernando Valenzuela said.”“He was a great teammate and friend. I’ll always be grateful for his influence on my pitching. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
Castillo was widely credited with teaching Valenzuela how to throw his famous screwball, a pitch Castillo also threw.
He was a sixth-round draft choice by the Kansas City Royals in 1974 and was purchased by his hometown Dodgers on June 16, 1977. The then 22-year-old, affectionately known as “Babo”, made his big league debut for Los Angeles on Sept. 19 of that year and retired Hall of Famer Johnny Bench for his first big league out.
Castillo, who attended Lincoln High School, finished with a career record of 38-40 with a 3.94 ERA in 250 games, making 59 starts. He pitched for LA in the 1981 National League Championship Series, the World Series that same year and the 1985 NLCS.
He has been dedicated member of the Dodger organization since his retirement, participating in events including hospital visits, autograph signings and kids holiday parties and baseball clinics.
He is survived by his mother, Nellie, daughters, Mellanie and Sara, son-in-law, Andrew Sanchez, son Robert III, and his sister, Lorraine, and her husband, Peter Gonzalez. Castillo had three nieces and nephews, nine grand nieces and nephews and two grandchildren, Jackson and Lila.