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Former Brewers pitcher, coach Bill Castro reflects on time in Milwaukee

Bill Castro
Posted at 9:32 AM, Oct 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-09 10:33:03-04

Bill Castro loves his southern suburb, near Milwaukee.

"I know a lot of people around here in the area, in Greendale," Bill Castro says. "And then the kids know a lot of friends that they have over here. My two daughters? They got married and they live in Greendale."

But growing up in the Dominican Republic? This was beyond a dream.

"I never thought about coming to the United States or playing baseball professionally," Castro says. "Just having fun playing, and I guess somebody saw me."

Castro got homesick when he left. But that left, making his major league debut with the Brewers in 1974.

"When they told me in Hawaii, Bob Lemon was our manager," Castro says. "And he used to call everybody Meat. 'Hey Meat! Meat, you gotta go to Anaheim tomorrow.' I said 'for what?' I didn't realize Anaheim, what it was. That it was the Anaheim Angels. So the Brewers were playing over there, so I had to go and meet the club there. So it happened to where that they couldn't find a flight for me out of Hawaii to get to the team. So they waited a couple days over there to get to the team. I just got, worked out with them, the AAA team and then go and watch the game. So a couple days later? I think I flew to Oakland."

His Brewers memories are filled with legends.

"I got to play with Robin Yount, Molitor, Hank," Castro says.

"Yeah, Grandpa Hank, yep. He was like the grandfather of everybody. He was a respectable guy. I hung around with him a lot," Castro says.

Castro pitched for the Brewers for 7 seasons, leaving after 1980 and missing the 1982 World Series.

"And looking back, I wish I would have stayed," Castro says.

Later he became the longest-tenured Brewers pitching coach - over 18 seasons.

"I kind of was like the grandfather, of those kids," Castro says. "I felt like I know what they were going through. Even though they were in the big leagues. But I know what I went through coming up through the minor leagues. And I tried to make them feel comfortable. And tried to be an open book with them."

Later in 2013, he got to live another dream. Winning the World Baseball Classic as the pitching coach of his native Dominican Republic.

"It means a lot, I mean it means a lot for myself and the family and the country," Castro says. "Because I mean, we didn't lose a game. They tell me when we were playing, the whole country shut down just watching the game."

Yet he owes a lot to the United States, the Brewers, and Greendale.

"My wife, she didn't want to move out of Wisconsin," Castro says. "So, I'm here because of her and baseball, really. We were talking about it the other night. I said, you realize that we met each other because of baseball."

And mentors other players to follow their dreams.

"I always say follow your heart, and believe in yourself," Castro says.

Bill Castro spent ten years as a player. Two decades as a pitching coach. From the Dominican Republic to the Major Leagues? A life well lived.