|centerfieldmaz photo from St. Lucie Florida|
Back in those days he earned the nickname “Bigote” which means mustache.
Castro played six seasons in the minors having his best year in 1999 hitting 15 HRs with 61 RBIs. He was traded to the Florida Marlins in 1998 making his MLB debut in late August of 1999. In September '99 he hit his first career HR which came in St. Louis during a 9-3 loss to the Cardinals. He saw a lot of playing time that month, batting .179 for the season.
He spent six seasons with the Marlins, at first sharing time with Mike Redmond behind the plate, until Charles Johnson arrived for his second term in Florida. Castro hit his Marlin best .283 as a member of their 2003 World Championship team. He appeared in 40 games during the regular season hitting five HRs with eight RBIs but saw no post season action.
In December of 2004 Castro signed as a free agent with the New York Mets and would spend four and a half seasons in New York as a backup catcher. The theme music he chose when he came to bat at Shea, was the Darth Vader Imperial march from the Star Wars movies.
Castro was one of the slowest runners the Mets ever had; it was almost comical to watch him run the bases. If he had to circle around a few bases at once, he would slow up even more as he ran out of gas. His teammates would let him have in a fun way, as he became the ridicule of many slow running jokes in the dugout.
Castro backed up Mike Piazza in 2005, playing in 99 games, batting .244 with eight HRs & a career high 41 RBIs. On April 16th he drove in his first Mets run, a walk off base hit against Gillermo Mota & his old Marlin team mates.
On June 16th he had a big day against the Oakland A's in an interleague west coast game. In the Mets seven run 5th inning, Castro hit a bases loaded double scoring all three runs. He then advanced to third base on an error, much to the delight of his team mates laughing at his base running in the dug out. In July he had five games where he had multiple RBIs while hitting three HRs playing in just 14 games.
On August 13th he hit a solo HR at Dodger Stadium in a 5-1 Mets in at Los Angeles. A week later he hit a three run HR at Shea Stadium in a 9-8 win against the Washington Nationals. Two days later on August 23rd, in the first game of a double header at Arizona, he drove in five runs gathering up two hits, in the Mets 14-1 romp over the Diamond backs.
On August 30th at Shea Stadium, Casto hit a three run HR in the bottom of the 8th inning, against Ugueth Urbina & the Philadelphia Phillies leading the Mets to a 6-4 come from behind win. As Mike Piazza’s Mets career ended, Castro thought he may have a chance as a starter but the Mets traded for Paul Loduca in the off season.
In the Mets 2006 NL Eastern Championship title season, Castro played in just 40 games missing two months of action. He hit .238 with four HRs seven doubles & 12 RBIs. Behind the plate he threw out 35% of would be base stealers posting a .996 fielding %.
Castro opened up his season, with doubles in the first two games he played in on the season. On April 22nd, his fourth game he hit a two run HR in an 8-1 win over the Padres in San Diego. He hit a HR in each of the next two months.
On July 1st he broke up a subway series tie, with a fourth inning base hit off Randy Johnson. The Mets went on to an 8-3 win at the AL New York ball park. He would get shut down in August & most of September returning in the final week of the season. He did not play in the post season.
In 2007 he played in 52 games hitting a career high .285 with 11 HRs (also a career high). He added six doubles 24 runs scored & 31 RBIs.
In April he started out the year hitting three HRs in his first six games & drove in seven runs in three straight games. In July he played in thirteen games hitting three more HRs while driving nine runs. He got his average up over the .300 mark as well.
On August 1st he hit a three run HR in Milwaukee, elading to an 8-5 Mets win over the Brewers. Behind the plate on the season he only threw out three base runners in thirty stolen base attempts (10%). He closed out the season with two HRs in the final week of the season, including a solo shot in a 13-0 win over the Florida Marlins in the next to last game of the year. The win gave the Mets hope for the playoffs in the final game but they fell 8-1 to the Marlins missing the post season after a horrible season ending collapse.
In 2008 the Mets signed Brian Schneider, once again passing up on Castro as the lead catcher. In April he hit .38 playing in seven games driving in five runs in four of those games. In July he saw a lot of playing time, having six multi hit games. On July 1st he drove in three runs leading the Mets to a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
A week later hit a three run HR against the San Francisco Giants, in a 5-0 Johan Santana shut out at Shea Stadium. During the month he had three more multi RBI games raising his average up to .283. On the season he hit .245 with 7 HRs 7 doubles 24 RBIs & a .312 on base %. Behind the plate he improved to throwing out 22% of would be base stealers.
May 2009, centerfieldmaz caught a Ramon Castro foul ball, sitting up behind home plate in the Promenade club seats at the new Citi Field. It was one of Castros last games as a New York Met. The third string Catcher Omir Santos; had started out hot and won the backup catchers job, making Castro expendable.
On May 29th Castro was traded to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Lance Broadway. On July 23rd 2009, Castro was behind the plate, catching Chicago pitcher Mark Buehrle for the first time.
That night Buehrle put himself in the record books, throwing the seventeenth perfect game in MLB history with Castro calling the signals. Castro only hit .184 in Chicago that season, seeing action in 31 games.
In 2010 he improved to a .278 average hitting eight HRs with two doubles & 21 RBIs. In 2011 he played his last season back with the White Sox batting .235 playing in 23 games.
Retirement: Castro retired at age 35 finishing his 13 year career batting .237 with 67 HRs 66 doubles 217 RBIs & a .310 on base %.
In 503 games he threw out 23% of base runners trying to steal. He posted a .990 fielding % with 21 double plays.
Castro lives in Miramar, Florida with his wife Brenda & their three daughters.