Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Luis Castillo, 2B
Played for Marlins: 1996-2005
Other Teams: Minnesota Twins (2006-2007), New York Mets (2007-current)
Marlins fans know him because: He holds many club records based on his unparalleled longevity with the club, including games played, at bats, hits, and runs scored. He was the only player remaining on the Marlins from the 1997 championship in 2003 (Jeff Conine was on both but left the club in between).
Everyone else knows him because: He was the batter for the infamous Bartman play in the 2003 NLCS. The foul ball wasn't made an out and he later walked, which helped propel the eight run inning. He also had a well publicized 35-game hitting streak in 2002 that remains the longest for any Latino player or second baseman (Chase Utley has since tied this). He also did it with the defense, winning three straight Gold Gloves between 2003 and 2005.
Best Marlins moment: I'm going to break my own rule because a hitting streak isn't exactly a moment, but it's astonishing to realize that in the 100+year history of the league, only ten people have a longer streak than Castillo. An actual memorable moment to me was when the streak ended. The Marlins came back from either four or five runs in the ninth inning to beat the Tigers and the game ended on a sacrifice fly with Castillo on deck. It was a weird mix of emotions to get a huge win in the middle of the season, but have a historic streak ended like that.
An honorable mention for best moment has to be the recent revelation that Castillo played in the 2003 World Series despite the unfortunate passing of his brother. He didn't have a great series (understandable), but just being able to play and keep the lineup stable is mind boggling. If he was absent, Mike Mordecai would have had to fill in at second base and the lineup would have undergone drastic changes. He still played a key role in the decisive game six, singling home Alex Gonzalez for the first run of the ballgame in the fifth inning.
(image via si.com)