Friday, November 25, 2011

Homegrown Homecoming: Vinny Castilla

The final Blake Street Bomber who dominated as a member of the Rockies' lineup back in the day is Vinny Castilla. Castilla was perhaps the least flashy Bomber, not as prone to towering home runs like Andres Galarraga or panache like Dante Bichette and Larry Walker. But he was solid and consistent. Plus he played third base, and we all know how hard it is to find a productive third baseman and get him into a Rockies uniform these days.

Castilla, like Bichette and Galarraga, was a member of the inaugural 1993 team. He's also hung around the organization longer than anybody else, returning to Colorado for a season in 2004 and a handful of games in 2006 before retiring. In his final at-bat with the club, he hit an RBI single. From Mexico originally, he's coached Mexican teams in the Pan American Games and in the World Baseball Classic. Currently he's a special assistant to Dan O'Dowd, so he's still an active member of the Rockies family.

Some other Castilla factoids: he started all 162 games in 1998, the only Rockie to ever do so (guess we're still waiting on our Cal Ripken Jr). His 916 career starts at third is a Rockies record. He and Todd Helton are the only Rockies with six seasons of 30 home runs or more. And he won 3 Silver Sluggers, more than any other Rockie besides Helton and Matt Holliday (who also has 3). He was a quality player, and I hope he'll remain part of the organization for a long time to come.

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