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Nellie Castillo


Nellie Castillo, speaking about her son, retired LA Dodger's pitcher, Bobby Castillo.

My son was nine years old, and he told me, "Mom, I'm gonna play for the Dodgers. I'm gonna pitch at Dodger's Stadium" I said, "You are?" He says, "Yes." I could have told my son, "Forget it kid, it's not gonna happen." But you know what? I didn't want to break his dream, I wanted to encourage him to go forward, and I didn't want to burst his bubble. I said to him, "Why not? If that's what you want to do, go for it, sure." And then he would tell me, "You know, I'm want to play for the Dodgers mom, but I want to play even if I have to play for the Mets!"

That's what he wanted to do with his life. He signed out of junior college with the Kansas City Royals. He went to the academy in Sarasota, Florida, as one of the young talents. They had signed him as an infielder he had a real good batting average. So after one year they let him go, they released him. He came back home and he got an opportunity to go to Mexico. I felt bad because he had to go all the way to Mexico in order to fulfill his dream. He said that that was the best thing he could have ever done. He was so happy because he went to Mexico. He said he could have lived there for the rest of his life, that he was happy, he was playing ball, which is what he wanted to do. If he couldn't play in the United States he was happy in Mexico because they treated him very well. In the beginning it was little rough, because his Spanish isn't the best, but little by little he got to know the people, he got to love the country and they loved him. It was exciting for us, too. My husband and I would run to get the newspaper everyday, because we knew he was pitching on a certain day. Our Spanish really got good because we were reading the Spanish newspaper everyday.

So anyway, the Dodgers saw what he was doing in Mexico There were many teams, maybe ten teams that wanted him. He decided, of course, that his dream was with the Dodgers, so he signed with the Dodgers and came back to the United States in 1977. And he played with Dodgers until 1985. He was a pitcher. And it was a wonderful experience for my husband and I to have our son playing for the Dodgers - that was his dream. He told me at nine years old that he was going to play for the Dodgers. That's what he had wanted to do all his life, so he fulfilled his dream. Sandy Koufax was my son's idol, he was his hero, and he wanted to be just like Sandy Koufax. He played in the World Series. He has his World Series ring, we have his World Series trophy on the mantle, and he reached his dream, that's what he wanted to do all his life.

We live about five miles from Dodger Stadium and my son went to Mexico in order to make the Dodgers! (LAUGHS) I mean, it's really the long way around, don't you think?