I remember the dreaded feeling I would get anytime I’d buy a pack of cards and pull out Vinny Castilla. I mean, the guy was so dull, never spoke, never smiled, and seemed to nothing more than a poor man’s Jose Canseco. After all, during the mid-90’s Jose was STILL the man among Hispanic players. He was a former Rookie of the Year, M.V.P, had a World Series ring, was the first “40-40” man…and so on.
From 1991 to 1994 Vinny Castilla was a scrub. He had not secured a full-time role and never hit more than 9 home runs in a single season. Everything changed for Vinny in the strike-shortened 1995 season when he came into spring training and won a regular job on the Colorado squad. In the next five years Vinny would go on to become a full-fledged power hitter belting 30 or more home runs five seasons in a row, including 40 or more three years in a row, something Jose never even came close to doing.
The weird thing was that as Vinny became a bigger star he almost seemed to want to morph into a Mexican Jose Canseco. First, he grew the “Business Mullet”, long in the back, short in the front. Then he started wearing the Oakley’s Jose and Rickey Henderson were famous for during the glory days of the Oakland Atheletics. It was sad to watch cause Vinny is 6’1 and 185 lbs. and Jose was 6’4 240 lbs.
The more I look back at Vinny’s career, the more respect I have for him. He may not have had the flash that Canseco became known for but he did end his career with 300+ home runs, 1,000+ R.B.I’s, and came damn close to 2,000 hits. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that he never injected Dante Bichette and Todd Helton in the ass with steroids. Damn, that’s one ugly mental picture.