LOS ANGELES, CA— Former Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Robert “Bobby” Castillo passed away this morning in a Los Angeles hospital after battling cancer. He was 59.
Castillo pitched in Los Angeles from 1977-81 and again in 1985, his last season in the Major Leagues. The right-hander also was a member of the Minnesota Twins from 1982-84. Castillo is survived by his mother, Nellie, his daughter, Mellanie, his daughter, Sara, and her husband, Andrew Sanchez, his 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.
The Los Angeles native was widely credited with teaching Dodger pitching great Fernando Valenzuela how to throw his famous screwball, a pitch Castillo also threw.
“I was very saddened to hear about Bobby’s passing this morning,” said Valenzuela. “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.”
“Babo” as he was affectionately called, 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 Castillo 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 in Los Angeles, finished with a career record of 38-40 with a 3.94 ERA in 250 games (59 starts). He pitched for the Dodgers in the 1981 National League Championship Series, the ’81 World Series and the 1985 NLCS.
Since his retirement, Castillo has been a dedicated member of the Dodger organization, participating in countless events through the years and was a familiar face on Dodger hospital visits, autograph signings and at kids’ holiday parties and baseball clinics, to name a few.
Funeral services are pending.