Read obituary for ex-MLB pitcher Frank Castillo; rosary is tonight

EL PASO, Texas - Frank Anthony Castillo Obituary

Frank Anthony Castillo died in a drowning accident on July 28, 2013 while with his two daughters at Bartlett Lake, near their home in Scottsdale, Arizona.  He was 44.

Frank was born and raised in El Paso, Texas.  As a child, Frank and his brother Joe played baseball for hours on end in their backyard and would pretend that the ivy-covered stone wall behind their house was the outfield wall in Wrigley Field. It marked the realization of a boyhood dream when the Chicago Cubs drafted Frank out of El Paso's Eastwood High School in 1987.  

At the age of 22, Frank made his Major League debut on June 27, 1991 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He threw 8 shutout innings that night, foreshadowing what would be a long career in the Majors. Four years later, Frank pitched one of the most storied games of his career when he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning, only to have it broken up by a hit on a 2-2 count with two outs and no men on base.   Ever the professional, Frank completed the game with a shutout and blamed no one for losing his no-hitter. He went on to have the best season of his career, posting a 3.21 ERA over 29 starts.

After pitching seven seasons with the Cubs, Frank went on to pitch for the Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, and Boston Red Sox, ending his career with the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox.  In total, he pitched 297 games over 13 year Major League seasons.  He was inducted into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

Frank was a favorite among his teammates and among baseball fans across the country.  Players and fans alike were drawn to his intense workmanlike approach and his fearlessness on the mound.  Always a "team first" player, Frank never hesitated to "send a message" whenever an opposing pitcher had drilled one of his teammates.  And he always was quick to join an on-field scrum even if he was not in the game at the time. Frank was a fighter, and his teammates and fans loved him for it.


Never flashy, Frank respected baseball and played it the right way, recognizing that The Game was much bigger and more important than any one player.


As tenacious as Frank was on the field, he was humble and unassuming off of it.  He enjoyed nothing more than spending time at home with his family.  And he loved El Paso, the place he always called home.  It was his years spent growing up in El Paso, combined with the strong principles of humility and faith in God that were instilled in him by his parents, that allowed Frank to remain so grounded and down to earth despite being a star in many people's eyes.

Frank loved his parents and spent as much time with them as he could, often flying them to whichever city he lived in so that he could enjoy their company and, more importantly, his mom's home cooking.  Frank's bond with his parents was extraordinarily strong, never waning as he moved away from home, started his professional baseball career, and had his own family.  They were a never-ending source of inspiration and unconditional love for Frank, and also provided him with an unwavering moral compass that helped guide him throughout his life. 


No greater testament can be said of a son than that he made his parents proud.  Frank made his parents proud every day of his life.


Frank also was a great brother who, as a child, wanted nothing more than to compete on an equal level with his athletic older brother, Joe.  It was that desire to be as good as his brother that sparked the competitive fire that propelled Frank to reach the Majors and compete against the very best players in the world.  And once he made The Show, the buddy he most enjoyed spending time with was the same person he admired so much as a child—his big brother and best friend, Joe.

Like Joe, Frank's two older sisters, Debi and Denise, also were instrumental in his life.  He looked up to both with the type of respect and admiration normally reserved for mothers, and he never wanted to disappoint them. Whether he asked them for financial advice or simply advice on raising kids, Frank hung on to their every word. 


Frank trusted no one more than Denise to handle his business, financial, and personal affairs, knowing that she always had his best interests at heart, and also knowing that she would pounce like a lioness on anyone who tried to take advantage of her little brother.  And Frank always counted on Debi to ensure the family spent lots of time together despite being separated by thousands of miles.  Frank cherished time with his family, and Debi ensured he always got plenty.  But as much as Frank revered his "big sissies" he never tired of playing practical jokes on them, confirming that even as a 44 year old father of two, he remained a kid at heart.

Most importantly, Frank was a loving father who doted on his two beautiful daughters, "KK" and "Cammy."  They truly were the love of his life, and they made him happier and more proud than they will ever know.  


Frank's idea of a perfect afternoon was spending time at the riding stables watching KK mount and ride her horse with the confidence, poise, and grace of a princess, or listening to Cammy sing her favorite songs to him for hours on end.  When he entered Heaven, Frank almost certainly recognized the sound of angels singing, because he had been listening for years to the beautiful voice of his little angel, Cammy.


Frank was spending the day with KK and Cammy when this tragic accident happened, which means that his last day on this earth was spent doing his favorite thing in the world—playing with his girls. Although he has now left them physically, he will be with them in spirit every day of their lives.  

Frank is survived by his daughters Cadin and Camden; his parents Jose and Gloria Castillo; his sister Debi Lopez and her three sons Brian, Kevin, and Jordan; his sister Denise Castillo Rhodes, husband Robert, and son Jeffrey; and his brother Joe, wife Perla, daughter Leslie, and son Joey.  

A Rosary in Frank's memory will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday August 5, 2013 at Saint Raphael Parish Church, 2301 Zanzibar Road, El Paso, Texas 79925.  The Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday August 6, 2013, also at Saint Raphael, followed by interment at Restlawn Memorial Park, 8817 Dyer Street, El Paso, Texas 79904.

Pallbearers will be Joe Castillo, Brian Lopez, Kevin Lopez, Jeffrey Rhodes, Victor Salazar, Jr., and Robert Sergesketter.

The family welcomes all who are able to attend these services to join them in honoring their loving son, wonderful brother, and extraordinary father. We will mourn our loss together but also will find comfort in knowing that Frank is now safely cradled in God's loving arms.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office "Frank Castillo Dive Team Memorial Fund." Donations may be mailed or sent via electronic funds transfer, as follows:


If mailed: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office--Lake Patrol Division

                  Attn:  Deputy Sheriff Pat Gould

                  7307 North Bush Highway

                  Mesa, Arizona 85215


If by wire: Wells Fargo Account Number 2139888354

                   Routing Number 122105278


This Memorial Fund is a charitable entity, making all donations tax deductible. The 501(c)(3) EIN number is 26-4781449.

Source: Castillo family

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