Ramon Castro: 2006 N.L. Eastern Champion Mets Back Up Catcher (2005-2009)

Ramon Abraham Castro was born on March 1, 1976, in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. The six foot three, catcher was a first round pick (17th pick overall) in the 1994 draft for the Houston Astros. Castro was actually the first Puerto Rican played to be drafted by the Astros.

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. 

MLB Career: 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. 

Trivia: The theme music he chose when he came to bat at Shea, was the Darth Vader Imperial march from the Star Wars movies. 

Mets Career: 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. 

2005: Castro backed up Mike Piazza playing in 99 games, batting .244 with eight HRs & a career high 41 RBIs. He had nine multi-RBI games that season as well.

Walk Off Hit: On April 16th he drove in his first Mets run in heroic style. He entered the game at catcher in the top of the 9th inning with the Mets ahead 3-2. Braden Looper blew the lead & the Marlins tied the game. In the bottom of the 9th, Castro hit a walk off base hit off Guillermo Mota to beat his old Marlin teammates 4-3.

On June 16th he had a big day in a 9-6 win in Oakland over the 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 teammates laughing at his base running in the dugout.

In July he had five games where he had multiple RBIs while hitting three HRs playing in just 14 games. On July 6th, in a 9-6 Mets win in D.C. he hit a two-run single off the Nationals Livan Hernandez, but the slow-footed Castro was thrown out at second base trying for the double. 

On July 27th, in a 9-3 win at Colorado he went back-to-back with Marlon Anderson for 4th inning HRs off Jamey Wright, then added a two run double in the next inning.
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 over the Washington Nationals. 

Multi RBI Game: Two days later on August 23rd, in the first game of a double header at Arizona, he drove in a career five runs gathering up two hits, in the Mets 14-1 romp over the Diamond backs. Castro had an RBI single, a fielder's choice & a 6th inning, a bases clearing three run double off Lance Cormier in the 6th inning,

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. 

Mets 2006 NL Eastern Championship Season: Castro played in just 40 games backing up main catcher Paul LoDuca. Castro missed two months of action due to injuries. 

Castro opened up his season, with doubles in the first two games he played in on the season. On April 22nd, playing in his fourth game of the year, he hit a two run HR off the Padres Chris Young in an 8-1 win in San Diego. 

He would hit a HR in each of the next two months as well. On May 27th he homered off the Marlins Dontrell Willis in a 7-4 in Florida. On June 18th Castro then homered off the Orioles Chris Britton in a 9-4 win at Shea.

On July 1st Castro 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 ballpark. 

He would get shut down in August & most of September returning in the final week of the season. 

On the season 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 %.

2006 Post Season: Castro did not play in the Mets NLDS win over L.A. or the NLCS loss to the Cardinals.

2007: In 2007 Castro played in 52 games with career highs in batting .285 & HRs with 11. He also had six doubles 31 RBIs 24 runs s cored a .331 on base & .887 OPS.

In April he started out the year hitting three HRs in his first six games & drove in seven runs over a three-game span from April 17th - April 21st.

In May he played in just six games but drove in runs in two of those starts. 

Subway Series Trivia: On June 16th he had a subway series HR off Tyler Clippard in an 11-8 Met loss. In 15 career subway series games he would hit two HRs & drive in seven runs batting .275.

In July he played in thirteen games hitting three more HRs while driving nine runs. On July 19th he hit a HR & drove in another run with an RBI single in the Mets 13-9 win in Los Angeles. 

That month Castro got his average up over the .300 mark as he batted .410 in the month (16-39) with 3 HRs & 9 RBIs.

On August 1st he hit a three run HR in Milwaukee, leading to an 8-5 Mets win over the Brewers. He struggled the rest of the month batting just .160. He would then miss action for a month from August 12th to September 17th with an injury.

He returned to hit over .300 in September, highlighted by two HRs in the final weeks of the season. On September 22nd in South Florida, he hit a three run HR off Byung-Hyun Kim in a 7-2 Mets win. 

Castro closed out the season with 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. The Mets had held on to first place until September 26th, then lost six of their last seven games missing the playoffs.

Behind the plate on the season, he only threw out three base runners in thirty stolen base attempts (10%). 

2008: In 2008 the Mets signed Brian Schneider as their main catcher, once again putting Castro in a backup role. In April he hit .38 playing in seven games driving in five runs in four of those games. 

centerfieldmaz Trivia: In May of 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 Castro's last games as a New York Met. It was the second ball centerfieldmaz caught at an MLB game, although this one bounced a few times in my direction before the grab.

On June 28th Castro hit his second career subway series HR, this one off of Andy Pettitte in a 3-2 loss at Shea Stadium.

In July he saw a lot of playing time, having six multi-hit games. On July 1st he drove in three runs, with a two run double & RBI single 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. On July 20th he hit HR in the first of back-to-back games, the first in a 7-5 win at Cincinnati then another at Shea in a loss to Philadelphia. During the month he had six multi-hit games & raised his average up to .283. 

On August 16th, he hit 7th & last HR of the year, coming off Zach Duke in a 7-4 Mets win. He would return after missing two weeks of action in mid-September. That night the Mets were still up by a half game in the NL East. They would lose six of their last nine & miss the playoffs again.

On the season Castro hit .245 with 7 HRs 7 doubles & 24 RBIs. He struck out 34 times & walked just 13 times with a .312 on base % & a .753 OPS. Behind the plate he improved to throwing out 22% of would-be base stealers. 
2009: In 2009 the Mets third string Catcher Omir Santos; had a good start to the season & passed Castro as the backup catcher. The season fell apart early for the Mets as well. All this made Castro expendable. 

On May 29th, 2009, Castro was traded to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Lance Broadway. A name fit for New York although he never pitched that well.

Mets Career Stats: In his Mets five-year career, Ramon played in 256 games as catcher (11th most in Met history). He batted .252 with 33 HRs 41 doubles & 121 RBIs. He was one of the slowest Mets runners in team history.

Post Mets Career: He quickly enjoyed fame in Chicago, on July 23rd, 2009, Castro was behind the plate, catching Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle for the first time. That day Buehrle put himself in the record books, throwing the seventeenth perfect game in MLB history with Castro calling the signals. 

Castro would only hit .184 in Chicago that season, seeing action in 31 games. He spent three seasons in Chicago, playing in 91 games. 

In 2010 he improved to a .278 average hitting eight HRs with two doubles & 21 RBIs. In 2011 he hit .235 playing in 23 games.

Career Stats:
Castro retired at age 35 finishing his 13-year career batting .237 with 338 hits 67 HRs 66 doubles 155 runs scored & 217 RBIs. He struck out 375 times walked 151 times, posted a .310 on base % & .734 OPS.

At catcher: In 503 games behind the plate, he threw out 23% of base runners trying to steal. Castro posted a .990 fielding % with 21 double plays turned. 

Retirement: After his MLB career he played with the Long Island Ducks & in the Italian Baseball League with Telemarket Rimini.

Family: Castro lives in Miramar, Florida with his wife Brenda & their two daughters. He also has another daughter from a different mother.


Popular posts from this blog

Former Mets Broadcaster: Fran Healy ( 1984-2005)

Remembering Mets History: (1977) The Felix Millan / Ed Ott Brawl In Pittsburgh

Remembering Bobby Ojeda's Tragic Boating Accident (1993)

The 1970's Oakland A's Ball Girls- (MLB's First)

Remembering Vixen Founder / Guitarist; Jan Kuehnemund (1961-2013)