El Paso Native and Former MLB Pitcher Frank Castillo Drowns in Arizona’s Bartlett Lake
Frank Castillo, an Eastwood High School alum and former Major League Baseball pitcher drowned Sunday at Bartlett Lake, about 60 miles northeast of downtown Phoenix, Arizona. According to a news report from AZFamily.com, the 44-year old was on a boating trip with family and friends. The boat stopped in a remote, northeast section of the lake when Castillo and some of other people decided to go swimming. The El Paso native went underwater and did not resurface. Divers from the Maricopa County Sheriff's office searched for hours Sunday, and resumed efforts at Bartlett Lake Monday morning, but had not yet recovered his body. Deputies said that Castillo was not a good swimmer and was not wearing a life jacket.
Castillo's family released the following statement to KVIA on Monday:
"Frank Castillo died on Sunday in a drowning accident while with his family at a lake near his home. Frank was a wonderful son, terrific brother, and an extraordinary father to his two beautiful girls. Everyone who knew Frank loved Frank . We are devastated by this loss. It is impossible to express in words the level of sadness we feel due to this tragedy. All of those who counted Frank as a personal friend, and to all those wonderful fans who cheered for him during his major league career, we genuinely appreciate your prayers and kind words during this extremely difficult time.
"While we may not be able to thank each of you in person, it is very comforting to know that you are with us in spirit. We will provide information about the funeral once we are able to make all of the arrangements."
Castillo, who along with Butch Henry formed the most dynamic 1-2 punch in El Paso High School baseball history, was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 6th round of the 1987 Amateur Draft. He debuted for the Cubs in 1991 and would spend 13 seasons in the big leagues winning a total of 82 games for six different teams. The highlight of Castillo's time in Chicago was a game on September 25th, 1995 against the St. Louis Cardinals. The 26-year old was just one out away from throwing a no-hitter at historic Wrigley Field. The Cardinals' Bernard Gilkey hit a line drive to left field, ending the no-hitter and Castillo's shot at immortality. Ironically, he pitched just one inning for the Boston Red Sox in 2004, spending much of that season with Triple-A Pawtucket. However, the team still respected the veteran enough to give him a World Series ring for Boston's win over St. Louis. In 2002, Castillo was inducted into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame.