Ángel Castro (Mexico)

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Ángel Castro Pacheco

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Biographical information[edit]

Ángel Castro was one of the first home-grown Mexican baseball stars and arguably the greatest Mexican player before Hector Espino. When Negro League and Major League players came south in the '40s, Castro held his own.

As a rookie for the Tampico Lightermen in 1938, Castro hit .354/.393/.674. He led the Mexican League with 62 hits, 9 triples, 9 home runs and 40 RBI. A year later he batted .328 and again led the league in RBI (50) and homers (9).

Then, in 1940, over half of the active Negro League Hall of Famers came to the Mexican League, along with about half of the other top-flight black talent. Most Mexican players lost their jobs. Castro joined the Veracruz Blues who had Hall of Famers Josh Gibson, Ray Dandridge, Willie Wells and Martin Dihigo among their position players. Castro hit .362, fourth in the league (behind Cool Papa Bell, Dihigo and Hilton Smith), slugged .555 and was 4th also with 28 doubles.

In '41 and '42, Castro again topped .320, but then he slipped during wartime, though other guys were still putting up fine offensive statistics. Castro hit .248, .269 and .289 from '43 to '45.

In 1946 the Mexican League saw some major leaguers come to the circuit. Castro hit .298 and slugged .480, outperforming basically all the major league alumni. He again was on a star-studded championship team. Back with Tampico (he played for them from '41 to '47 after leaving Veracruz) he was joined on the infield by a Negro Leaguer (Barney Serrell), a Cuban (Hector Rodriguez) and a white American (Moe Franklin) in one of the earliest multicultural infields ever.

In '47 and '48, Castro hit .278 and .291 with 23 homers between the two years. He was looking to have failed to live up to his promise of 1938-40. Then he suddenly turned things back around in 1950 at the age of 30. That year he hit .346/.457/.511. His 10 homers tied for the league lead with Jesus Diaz and he led the circuit with 68 RBI.

1951 was Castro's best season ever. He hit .354/.450/.613 - he hit 22 homers to lead the league, 79 RBI to lead the league and he had the top average as he became the only Mexican player in the history of the Mexican League to win the league's Triple Crown. Not only that, but he also was the manager for his Veracruz team, which won the pennant. It was one of five championships he won in Mexico. Among the players Castro beat out in his Triple Crown season was Hall-of-Famer Buck Leonard.

Castro played six more years inthe Liga, hitting over .300 4 times, cranking out 10-19 homers per season, drawing as many as 88 walks in 118 games in [[1957] and finishing his career with a .306 average and a .500 slugging percentage. He retired as the Liga's all-time home run king, though Ronnie Camacho would break his record in 1966, 9 years after Castro retired. In '52-'53 he was MVP of the winter Mexican Pacific League after hitting .307 with 16 HR.

He was selected to the Salon de la Fama in 1964. He was elected to the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame as part of its 2012 class.

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Playoffs Notes
1951 Azules de Veracruz Mexican League 49-35 1st League Champs
1952 Diablos Rojos del Mexico Mexican League 4th none replaced Rafael Pedrozo
1966 Leon Diablos Verdes Mexican Center League -- -- replaced by Guadalupe Pedroza

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