Vinicio "Vinny" Castilla Soria (Spanish pronunciation: [kasˈtiʎa]; born July 4, 1967) is a Mexican-born former Major League Baseball third baseman who played his best years with the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves. Previously, he played with the Atlanta Braves (1991–1992, 2002–2003), Colorado Rockies (1993–1999, 2004, 2006), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2000–2001), Houston Astros (2001), Washington Nationals (2005), and San Diego Padres (2006). He currently serves as a special assistant to the Rockies GM Jeff Bridich.
Castilla with the San Diego Padres
|Born: July 4, 1967|
|September 1, 1991, for the Atlanta Braves|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 28, 2006, for the Colorado Rockies|
|Runs batted in||1,105|
|Career highlights and awards|
The Atlanta Braves purchased Castilla's contract from the Saltillo club out of the Mexican League in 1990. He made his MLB debut as a shortstop for the Braves on September 9, 1991. For the 1992 season he only appeared in 8 games.
In November 1992 he was selected by the Rockies in the expansion draft. For the 1993 season he played regularly hitting 9 home runs and 9 triples (8th in the league) in 105 games as a shortstop. In 1994 his playing time was reduced mainly due to the acquisition of shortstop Walt Weiss and the 1994-95 Major League Baseball strike. Castilla only saw action in 52 games, playing all four positions in the infield.
After the departure of starting third baseman Charlie Hayes, Castilla was the leading candidate to man third base for the 1995 season. This, along with the help of manager Don Baylor, was the turning point in Castlla's career, hitting .319 with 17 home runs and 48 runs batted in by the All Star break, earning him a backup spot in the All Star team. He was later named the starting third baseman for the NL after Matt Williams was out with an injury. He finished the season with a .309 batting average, 32 home runs and 90 RBIs. In the NLDS against Atlanta he hit .467 with 3 home runs. Many considered Castilla's numbers to be a fluke, mainly because of playing at the friendly confines of a thin-air Denver stadium, a stigma that would follow Vinny for most of his Colorado career. However, in 1996 he surpassed his numbers from the previous year, his 40th home run came on the last game of the season, he finished the year hitting .304 with 40 home runs, including 2 Grand Slams for a total of 113 RBIs. For the 1997 season he would have exactly the same totals of home runs, RBIs and batting average (40-113-.304) as well as 3 multi-homer games on the year.
Castilla's most productive season was 1998, earning his second All-Star and his first Home Run Derby selection in front of his home crowd in Colorado. Playing in all 162 games he finished the season with 46 home runs (4th in the league), 144 RBIs (3rd), 206 hits (3rd), 380 total bases (3rd),108 runs scored and a .319 batting average (10th in the league and career-high), good enough numbers to finish 11th in the NL MVP ballot.
On April 4, 1999, Castilla was a part of history as the Rockies played their Opening Day contest in his native Mexico at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey in Monterrey. The game marked the first time Major League Baseball (MLB) commenced the regular season outside of the United States or Canada. The Rockies' opponent were the defending National League champion San Diego Padres. Castilla delighted the crowd with four hits including a double, as Colorado won 8–2.
On June 6, 1999, Castilla produced his first career three-home run game against the Milwaukee Brewers. He finished the season with 33 home runs and 102 RBIs.
Prior to the 2000 season, Castilla was sent to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a team that featured veteran sluggers Jose Canseco, Greg Vaughn and Fred McGriff. However, he played only in 85 games, hitting for a .221 BA and 6 home runs.
The following year, he played only 24 games for Tampa Bay before being traded to the Houston Astros.
After playing only 24 games for Tampa Bay at the beginning of the 2001 season, Castilla went to play for the Houston Astros where he re-discovered his power at the plate. He played in 122 games, hitting 23 home runs (including three in one game against the Pirates on July 28) and 82 RBIs, making it to the post season with the Astros, where he hit .273 with a solo home run in the NLDS.
He was signed as a free agent by the Braves in 2002. Although his offensive numbers declined (.232/12/61), he established himself as a premier defender at third base, leading the league in fielding average with .982. In the post season he hit a solid .320 with a home run and 4 RBIs. He played another season with the Braves in 2003, finishing the year with 22 homers and 76 runs batted in.
He returned for a second stint with the Colorado Rockies for the 2004 season and had a tremendous year, hitting 43 doubles and 35 home runs, and led the league with 131 RBIs. Defensively Castilla had arguably his best season at third base, leading the league in fielding average and committing only 6 errors all year long. Inexplicably he was denied of Gold Glove, Silver Slugger Award or All Star Game considerations.
He moved on to play with the Washington Nationals in 2005, hitting 12 home runs and 66 RBIs in 142 games. He finished second among third basemen in fielding average, with .970. In 2006, he played 72 games for the San Diego Padres before being released. He then signed with the Rockies for a third time to finish his career in Colorado. His last home run with the Rockies came on September 9, 2006 giving him a total of 239, good for 3rd all time in franchise history.
Always a fan favorite in Colorado, Castilla was the last player to retire from the original 1993 Colorado roster. As of 2018 he is the all-time home run leader among Mexican-born players (320). He won three Silver Slugger Awards ('95, '97 and '98) and was selected twice to the All Star Game. He hit 30+ home runs six times (including three 40-homer seasons) and drove in 100+ runs five times. At the peak of his career (1995 to 1999) he averaged 38 home runs and 112 RBIs. In post season play he finished with a .350 average (21 of 60) in 17 games, with 5 homers and 12 RBIs. He played in 16 seasons for six different clubs, and averaged 165 hits, 28 home runs and 97 RBIs for every 162 games played.
In 2007, he was named manager of the Mexico baseball team for the Pan American Games, and also served as manager in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. In 2008, he was a player-manager for the Naranjeros de Hermosillo in the Mexican Pacific League.
Castilla and his wife, Samantha, have 3 sons, Vinicio Jr., Daulton and Cristian.
On November 17, 1992, during the 1992–93 offseason, Major League Baseball (MLB) held an expansion draft in New York City to allow two expansion teams, the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies, to build their rosters prior to debuting in the National League's (NL) East and the West divisions, respectively, in the 1993 MLB season.
The 1990 collective bargaining agreement between MLB owners and the MLB Players Association allowed the NL to expand by two members to match the American League (AL). In June 1991, MLB accepted bids of groups from Miami, Florida, and Denver, Colorado, with debuts set for 1993.The Marlins and Rockies used the expansion draft to build their teams using different strategies. As the Rockies had a smaller operating budget than the Marlins, the Rockies targeted prospects with low salaries, while the Marlins selected older players intended to provide more immediate impact. All three rounds of the draft were televised by ESPN.1993 Colorado Rockies season
The Colorado Rockies' 1993 season was the first for the Rockies. They played in the National League West. Don Baylor was their manager. They played home games at Mile High Stadium. They finished 37 games behind the NL West Champion Atlanta Braves with a record of 67-95, sixth in the division, only ahead of the San Diego Padres.
Vinny Castilla was the last player from the Rockies' inaugural season to retire, playing his last game at the end of 2006.1995 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1995 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 66th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 11, 1995, at The Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Texas Rangers of the American League. It was the first All-Star Game held in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but not the first hosted by the franchise (as the Washington Senators, the team hosted the game in 1962 and 1969).
In this All-Star Game, American League pitchers held National League batters to just three base hits, but all three were home runs. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 3-2. This is also the most recent All-Star Game to be televised by the ABC television network.
Because of the MLBPA Strike, and the lack of official champions, the leagues chose to designate the managers of the unofficial league champions (teams with the best record at the time of abandonment of the season) as managers for this All-Star Game.
There were two color guards participating in the pregame ceremonies. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Color Guard from Ottawa, Ontario, carried the Canadian flag, while the 1995-96 Del Rio (TX) High School ROTC Color Guard carried the American flag. Country singer Michelle Wright later sang "O Canada", while fellow country singer (and native Texan) Lyle Lovett sang "The Star-Spangled Banner". Nolan Ryan threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
National League President Len Coleman presented Jeff Conine with the All-Star Game MVP Award in lieu of the Commissioner of Baseball, marking the second year in a row that Coleman presided over the MVP Award presentation.1995 National League Division Series
The 1995 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 1995 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 3, and ended on Saturday, October 7, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. As a result of both leagues realigning into three divisions in 1994, it marked the first time in major league history that a team could qualify for postseason play without finishing in first place in its league or division. The teams were:
(1) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 90–54) vs. (4) Colorado Rockies (Wild Card, 77–67): Braves win series, 3–1.
(2) Cincinnati Reds (Central Division champion, 85–59) vs. (3) Los Angeles Dodgers (Western Division champion, 78–66): Reds win series, 3–0.The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was not tied to playing record but was predetermined—a highly unpopular arrangement which was discontinued after the 1997 playoffs. Also, the team with home field "advantage" was required to play the first two games on the road, with potentially the last three at home, in order to reduce travel. Had the 1995 NLDS been played under the 1998-2011 arrangement, then Atlanta (1) would've still played against Colorado (4) and Cincinnati (2) would have likewise still faced Los Angeles (3). Under the 2012-present format, which removed the prohibition against teams from the same division meeting in the Division Series, the matchups also would have been Atlanta-Colorado and Cincinnati-Los Angeles.
The Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Braves became the National League champion, and defeated the American League champion Cleveland Indians in the 1995 World Series.1997 Colorado Rockies season
The Colorado Rockies' 1997 season was the fifth for the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise located in Denver, Colorado, their fifth in the National League (NL), and third at Coors Field. The team competed in the National League West, finishing in third place with a record of 83-79. Right fielder Larry Walker won the NL Most Valuable Player Award (MVP), becoming the first Rockies player and Canadian-born player to do so in MLB.
In a season of contrasting dynamics, the Rockies led the NL in attendance, runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage (OBP), and slugging percentage. However, the club was last in earned run average (ERA), as only Roger Bailey and John Thomson pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title and produced an ERA under 5.00. Walker, Vinny Castilla, and Andrés Galarraga each hit at least 40 home runs. Walker led the NL in home runs with 49 and OBP (.452), and the major leagues in on-base plus slugging (1.172), while Galarraga led the NL in runs batted in (140).1998 Colorado Rockies season
The Colorado Rockies' 1998 season was the sixth for the Rockies. They tried to win the National League West. Don Baylor was their manager, although he was fired after the season. They played home games and hosted the 1998 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field. They finished with a record of 77-85, fourth in the NL West.1998 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1998 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 69th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 7, 1998, at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, the home of the Colorado Rockies of the National League. The first All-Star contest played in the Mountain Time Zone, the game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 13-8. It remains the highest-scoring All-Star Game in MLB history.
The pregame ceremony honored the United States Air Force Academy who provided the five-man color guard, flag presentations, and, at the end of country music singer Faith Hill's performance of the U.S. National Anthem, the flyover ceremonies. Hill's National Anthem performance was preceded by actress Gloria Reuben's performance of The Canadian National Anthem.
Twelve-year-old Elias Kurts was given the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, the first "non-celebrity" so honored.2000 Tampa Bay Devil Rays season
The 2000 Tampa Bay Devil Rays season was their third since the franchise was created. This season, they finished last in the AL East division, and managed to finish the season with a record of 69-92. Their manager were Larry Rothschild, who entered his 3rd year with the club. This season is sometimes referred to as the "Hit Show" because the club signed several big-name sluggers in hopes of the team putting up better offensive numbers.2001 Tampa Bay Devil Rays season
The 2001 Tampa Bay Devil Rays season was their fourth since the franchise was created. This season, they finished last in the AL East division, and managed to finish the season with a record of 62-100. Their manager were Larry Rothschild and Hal McRae, the latter whom replaced Rothschild shortly after the season began.2002 Atlanta Braves season
The 2002 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 37th season in Atlanta and 132nd overall. The Braves won their 11th consecutive division title, finishing 19 games ahead of the second-place Montreal Expos. The Braves lost the 2002 Divisional Series to the eventual NL Champion San Francisco Giants, 3 games to 2.
2002 marked the final year that pitchers Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz played on the same team ending the reign of what has been considered by many the greatest pitching trio of all-time. All three would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame a decade later. Smoltz set the Braves' single season record for saves (55). Chipper Jones moved to the outfield in left field to allow for Vinny Castilla to be signed and added to the lineup at third base. Julio Franco became a regular player in the second stint of his Major League career and Gary Sheffield was acquired to the Braves in 2002, playing at right field.2002 National League Division Series
The 2002 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 2002 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 1, and ended on Monday, October 7, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. The teams were:
(1) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 101–59) vs. (4) San Francisco Giants (Wild Card, 95–66); Giants win series, 3–2.
(2) Arizona Diamondbacks (Western Division champion, 98–64) vs. (3) St. Louis Cardinals (Central Division champion, 97–65); Cardinals win series, 3–0.The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage (Games 1, 2 and 5 at home), which was determined by playing record.
The Cardinals and Giants went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Giants became the National League champion, and lost to the American League champion Anaheim Angels in the 2002 World Series.2003 National League Division Series
The 2003 National League Division Series (NLDS), the first round of the 2003 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, September 30, and ended on Sunday, October 5, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. The teams were:
(1) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 101–61) vs. (3) Chicago Cubs (Central Division champion, 88–74): Cubs win series, 3–2.
(2) San Francisco Giants (Western Division champion, 100–61) vs. (4) Florida Marlins (Wild Card, 91–71): Marlins win series, 3–1.The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage (Games 1, 2 and 5 at home), which was determined by playing record. Although the team with the best record was normally intended to play the wild card team, the Braves played the Cubs, rather than the wild card Marlins, because the Braves and Marlins are in the same division.
The Cubs and Marlins went on to meet in the NL Championship Series, for the right to advance to the 2003 World Series against the American League champion New York Yankees.2005 Caribbean Series
The forty-seventh edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was played in 2005. It was held from February 1 through February 6 featuring the champion baseball teams of the Dominican Republic, Águilas Cibaeñas; Mexico, Venados de Mazatlán; Puerto Rico, Indios de Mayagüez, and Venezuela, Tigres de Aragua. The Series was held at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal in Mazatlán, Mexico.2005 Washington Nationals season
The Washington Nationals' 2005 season was the first for the team formerly known as the Montreal Expos since moving to Washington, D. C. and 37th overall for the franchise. The team signed four key free agents during the off-season: Vinny Castilla, José Guillén, Cristian Guzmán and Esteban Loaiza. Although they recorded an 81-81 record, the Nationals nevertheless finished last for a second consecutive year although they were only nine games behind the NL East champion Atlanta Braves.Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies are an American professional baseball team based in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division. The team's home venue is Coors Field, located in the Lower Downtown area of Denver. The Rockies won their first National League championship in 2007, after having won 14 of their final 15 games in order to secure a Wild Card position. In the World Series they were swept by the American League (AL) champion Boston Red Sox in four games.List of Silver Slugger Award winners at third base
The Silver Slugger Award is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), as determined by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball (MLB). These voters consider several offensive categories in selecting the winners, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, in addition to "coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value". Managers and coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team. The Silver Slugger was first awarded in 1980 and is given by Hillerich & Bradsby, the manufacturer of Louisville Slugger bats. The award is a bat-shaped trophy, 3 feet (91 cm) tall, engraved with the names of each of the winners from the league and plated with sterling silver.Among third basemen, Wade Boggs has won the most Silver Slugger Awards, winning eight times with the rival Boston Red Sox (six) and New York Yankees (two). In the National League, Mike Schmidt leads with six wins; Schmidt won the first five National League Silver Slugger Awards at third base from 1980, when he led the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series, to 1984 before his streak was broken by Tim Wallach. Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies collected four National League Silver Sluggers at third base from 2015 to 2018. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has won three American League Silver Sluggers at the position, and has ten wins in his career as he accumulated seven wins at shortstop with the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. Two National League third basemen have also won three Silver Sluggers. Matt Williams won the award in 1990, 1993, and 1994, when he was on pace to tie Roger Maris' home run record of 61 before the players' strike; Vinny Castilla won three awards in four years for the Colorado Rockies (1995, 1997–1998). José Ramírez and Nolan Arenado are the most recent winners.
George Brett hit .390 for the Kansas City Royals in the award's inaugural season, the highest average by a third baseman in the Silver Slugger era. Miguel Cabrera holds the National League batting average record for a third baseman (.339 in 2006). However, overall leader Boggs accumulated five winning seasons with a higher batting average than Cabrera's record. Boggs holds the record for the highest on-base percentage in a third baseman's winning season, with .476 in 1988; Chipper Jones' National League record is .441, achieved in 1999. Brett also holds the record for highest slugging percentage (.664 in 1980), followed by National League record-holder Schmidt (.644 in 1981). Schmidt's 48 home runs are tied with Adrián Beltré for most in the National League during an award-winning season. Despite this, Rodriguez holds the Major League record, with 54 home runs in 2007. Rodriguez batted in 156 runs during the 2007 season; the National League record is held by Castilla (144 runs batted in during 1998).Naranjeros de Hermosillo
The Naranjeros de Hermosillo (English: Hermosillo Orange Growers) is a baseball team in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP). Based in Hermosillo, Sonora, they are one of the most successful teams in the Liga Mexicana del Pacífico with 16 titles. They were the first Mexican team to win the Caribbean Series in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1976.Rolando Arrojo
Luis Rolando Arrojo Avila (born July 18, 1968) is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher who pitched from 1998 to 2002.
Arrojo made his mark with the teams from Villa Clara in the Cuban National Series, where he still is the all-time leader in hit batsmen. He was the staff ace on the Villa Clara team that won 3 consecutive Cuban National Series in 1993, 1994, and 1995. He was a member of the 1992 Olympic team that won the gold medal.
After defecting from the Cuban national team just before the 1996 Summer Olympics, Arrojo signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1997—one year before the team started playing, as that expansion team (along with the Arizona Diamondbacks) was permitted to start and maintain a minor league system starting that year. He made his debut with the expansion Devil Rays in 1998 and was an immediate sensation, becoming the team's first All-Star. He finished 1998 with a strong 14–12 record and a 3.56 ERA in 202 innings, for a team that finished 63-99.
However, in 1999, with teams and hitters more familiar with him and with his developing health problems (as critics claimed, these health problems were due to a lack of conditioning by Arrojo and his refusal to listen to coaches), Arrojo's numbers began to deteriorate, and he showed signs of inability to get left-handed hitters out. He pitched just 140 2⁄3 innings with a 5.18 ERA. After the season, the Devil Rays traded him to the Colorado Rockies with Aaron Ledesma for Vinny Castilla. Late in 2000, the Rockies in turn traded him with Rich Croushore, Mike Lansing, and cash to the Boston Red Sox for Jeff Frye, Brian Rose, John Wasdin, and minor leaguer Jeff Taglienti. Arrojo spent the rest of the season in the Red Sox rotation, but was largely ineffective. He spent the following two seasons as a part-time starter and a part-time reliever for the Red Sox with moderate success. He was not re-signed after the 2002 season and finished his career with four appearances for the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate in Columbus in 2003.Silver Slugger Award
The Silver Slugger Award is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League, as determined by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball. These voters consider several offensive categories in selecting the winners, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, in addition to "coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value". Managers and coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team. The Silver Slugger was first awarded in 1980 and is given by Hillerich & Bradsby, the manufacturer of Louisville Slugger bats. The award is a bat-shaped trophy, 3 feet (91 cm) tall, engraved with the names of each of the winners from the league and plated with sterling silver.The prize is presented to outfielders irrespective of their specific position. This means that it is possible for three left fielders, or any other combination of outfielders, to win the award in the same year, rather than one left fielder, one center fielder, and one right fielder. In addition, only National League pitchers receive a Silver Slugger Award; lineups in the American League include a designated hitter in place of the pitcher in the batting order, so the designated hitter receives the award instead.Home run record-holder Barry Bonds won twelve Silver Slugger Awards in his career as an outfielder, the most of any player. He also won the award in five consecutive seasons twice in his career: from 1990 to 1994, and again from 2000 to 2004. Retired former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza and former New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez are tied for second, with ten wins each. Rodriguez' awards are split between two positions; he won seven Silver Sluggers as a shortstop for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, and three with the Yankees as a third baseman. Wade Boggs leads third basemen with eight Silver Slugger Awards; Barry Larkin leads shortstops with nine. Other leaders include Ryne Sandberg (seven wins as a second baseman) and Mike Hampton (five wins as a pitcher). Todd Helton and Albert Pujols are tied for the most wins among first baseman with four, although Pujols has won two awards at other positions. David Ortiz has won seven awards at designated hitter position, the most at that position.