Don't know how many people saw this recent New York Daily News story on Mets second baseman Luis Castillo, but it contains a piece of sobering new information about the former Marlins Gold Glover. Castillo revealed for the first time that an older brother died during the 2003 World Series and that the only people he told were a few teammates.
In 2003, during the Marlins' second World Series, Castillo's older brother died of a heart attack after a game. Castillo confided in a few teammates but never disclosed anything publicly. Only now is he finally revealing it. He continued playing in the World Series without interruption. Since then, Castillo draws a cross in the dirt behind the catcher before his first at-bat every game.
"I felt bad inside," Castillo said. "We were in the World Series and I was in a hard situation. I couldn't miss any games. I didn't tell anybody. If it was in the news, maybe I had to go. That was hard for me. I wanted to go."
I've spoken to '03 Marlins manager Jack McKeon, former infielder Andy Fox and then-infield coach Perry Hill about the story, and none of them knew a thing about it. Hill, who was especially close to Castillo (he gave Hill one of the three Gold Glove awards he won with the Marlins), was shocked by the revelation.
"That's a stunner," said Hill, who is now the infield coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates. "What a burden to carry on such a high stage. I'm trying to think of his demeanor at the time -- Luis is always happy-go-lucky -- but I can't recall noticing anything different. It had to be weighing on his mind. Wow. That's shocking."
Though the story doesn't specify when exactly his brother died, it could help to explain Castillo's poor offensive showing in the '03 Series He hit just .154 (4 for 26), did not draw any walks, struck out seven times, and scored only one run. True to form, though, Castillo did not commit any fielding errors.