Rox will be represented by Castilla in HOF Classic
Former player set for first trip to Cooperstown for Memorial Day weekend event
DENVER -- Vinny Castilla hasn't played a baseball game since 2010, but this weekend he can be a kid again -- and visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, to boot.
Castilla, the former Rockies star who works for the club as special assistant to the general manager, will represent the club in the sixth annual Hall of Fame Classic, presented by Ford Motor Co., at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y., on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. MT. The event is part of the Hall of Fame's Memorial Day weekend celebration.
Each Major League organization has sent a former player -- some recently retired, such as Jack Wilson (Pirates) and Hideki Matsui (Yankees). Some, such as the Dodgers' Steve Garvey, retired some time ago. There will be a couple other former Rockies representing other teams -- Todd Hollandsworth (Cubs) and Todd Jones (Tigers).
Since retiring from the Majors after 2006 and retiring from the Mexican Winter League in 2010, Castilla has concentrated on his job, which includes some coaching duties and helping with evaluations. But when the Hall of Fame invited him to the Classic, he dusted off the bats and worked on honing his swing in the batting cage at Coors Field.
"It's like riding a bike, man," said Castilla, laughing. "I will make contact.
"Since I played winter ball in Mexico in 2010, I haven't played a game. But I play catch and play long-toss. And it'll be a very nice trip to bring my whole family and see the museum."
Castilla said he, like many players who didn't play in the advanced Rookie-level New York-Penn League, has never been to the Hall. Castilla, however, was inducted into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame's 2014 class this past winter, with Moises Alou, Bert Campaneris, Omar Moreno and Osvaldo Virgil.
Players will be announced by American League and National League representatives on Saturday, before Hall of Famers Phil Niekro and Ozzie Smith divide the teams and put on display their managerial prowess. The Knucksies and The Wizards will have coaching staffs consisting of Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers and Eddie Murray.