Andres Castillo, described as the life of the Grambling clubhouse by players and coaches, was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident on June 23 in Tampa, Florida. Castillo played catcher for the Tigers during the 2015 baseball season. He had previously played collegiately at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and prior to that he played at Wabash Valley College in southern Illinois.
“He was a great teammate,” said Wesley Drain a teammate of Castillo at both Wabash and Grambling.
“He was never quite. He was always talking, joking and dancing,” Drain added.
“Hearing of the news about Castillo just broke me and Coach Cooper’s heart,” said Grambling Assistant Baseball Coach Davin Pierre.
“We have had to deal with a lot of difficult moments in our coaching tenure at Grambling State, but this is by far one of the toughest things we have had to deal with,” Pierre said.
Coach Pierre echoed Drains sentiments about the character of Castillo.
“Andres was a pure joy to Coach and he was even better person to be around. He had a personality that would capture a room and just bring life to everyone around him.
“You could walk into the clubhouse a bit down and Andres would be playing Spanish music and all of a sudden, you are partying and joking around with him,” Drain said.
Drain added, “He was a hit on campus, everybody loved him, he wore bright cloths and just created a spark whenever he was around.”
Drain’s father Adolphus recall several years ago when Castillo and several other Latino players attending Wabash Valley College were stranded at the Atlanta airport during a snowstorm on their way back to school following Christmas break. Wesley had already made it back to Wabash ahead of the storm, so Adolphus Drain braved the bad roads and went out to the airport to get Castillo and his teammates. They spent several days in the Drain home waiting on the weather to improve so they could continue their flight.
“He was a joy to have in my home. He would bless the dinner table in Spanish. I’m not sure what he was saying, but they sounded like the most beautiful prayers you would ever want to hear. I loved him like a son,” Adolphus Drain said.
Castillo had a promising future in major league baseball until an accident on the baseball field shattered his catching hand. When the motorcycle mishap occurred he was back home in Tampa enjoying life and bringing enjoyment to the people around him.
Wesley and his mom India, along with Coaches Pierre and Cooper represented the Grambling and Wabash families at Castillo’s services.
“He was a polished 22 year old young man. He will be missed and he was loved by the Grambling family and his teammates. Andres Castillo will forever be a Grambling Tiger,” Pierre said.”
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org