By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Frank Castro is a 55-year-old living in Whittier, California who played professional right field in the Angels organization and currently resides in the SoCal MSBL as the player/manager of the 25-over Charros Baseball Club, a team he shares with his two sons. He also is the owner of eight MSBL World Series rings, with hopefully plenty more on the horizon.
This sounds like the beginning of a fairly normal profile of an exceptional ballplayer, right? Well, not exactly. Read on, my friends.
In 2010 Frank was diagnosed with stage four terminal cancer from the colon to the liver and was told he had a 6% chance of living through the next six months.
“I figuratively spit in the eye of the doctor and said I wasn’t ready to roll over quite yet,” said Castro. “I had double surgery on Halloween of 2010. A month later they couldn’t find any cancer at all. I experienced three months of daily chemo sessions afterward but I was most disappointed about missing the World Series that year.
I was supposed to play with the Sundevils in Arizona and they won it all. I was so thrilled when they ordered me a ring anyway. That was really special.”
Frank started with MSBL fifteen seasons ago and is happy to be managing the 25+ youngsters on the Charros because it gives him the chance to see his kids all the time, something he will no longer take for granted.
“My younger son is now back from missionary work in the Philippines and really loves baseball. He hasn’t had a lot of chances to play so I wanted to make sure he had an opportunity. My boys are 29 and 30 and I love coaching them. I’ll still get the chance to play in the 50 and over division in the league so I’m happy and definitely blessed.”
An amazing subplot to this story is that Frank went back to the MSBL World Series in 2011 and won three rings after enduring everything he went through in2010! He won rings in the 35+, 45+, and Father/Son divisions.
“You couldn’t have scripted it any better.”
Frank continues his personal life as a senior project manager for Kaiser Permanente, while his younger son retains residence in the family home. Frank and his sons are getting geared up for the annual trek to Arizona for this year’s record-breaking World Series.
“I am coaching the Charros team down there and also looking to hook up with one of our league’s 50-over teams to get more personal playing in. We’ll have the Charros in the cactus division since we have no idea what we have. We’re all looking forward to it.”
Frank is now ten years cancer-free and was told five years ago that he doesn’t have to go through an annual check-up anymore. He has a lifetime-worthy highlight of beating cancer but I asked him if any MSBL World Series highlights stick out to him.
“I would never be able to top winning three rings in 2011 after the 2010 I went through and am happy and humbled to have done that. But one thing that stays in my mind is hitting a home run out of Tempe Diablo Stadium and having the ball returned to me. That is right up there on the highlight reel.”
Any final words?
“I have been playing this great game since I could walk and am now fortunate enough to be once again blessed with my health. Cancer is something to respect and not fear. I go to the gym every day to maintain my health and finally, always remember to eat your greens!”