06/04/1987By Rick Cantu
El Paso Times
When Eastwood seniors graduate tonight a bond between pitchers Butch Henry and Frank Castillo will be broken.
For the past three years Henry and Castillo have been an effective 1-2 punch for the Troopers – and college and professional baseball noticed.
Castillo and Henry plan to pursue baseball careers, but in different fashion.
Castillo was selected Tuesday by the Chicago Cubs in major league baseball’s free agent draft. He will report to the Cubs rookie camp next week in Mesa, Ariz.
Henry, who was not drafted will take his skills to the University of Texas. While getting a college education, he will pitch for a perennial College World Series contender.
“I remember watching baseball games on TV on Saturday mornings,” Castillo said. “I’d watch Nolan Ryan pitch and wonder what it would be like to be in his shoes.
Castillo credits his father, Joe Castillo, for helping him develop into a good player. Joe Castillo was El Paso’s Most Valuable Player while playing for Jefferson High in 1952 and signed a free agent contract to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Joe Castillo played minor league baseball, but never made it to Pittsburgh.
“My dad tells me that he relived is playing days by watching me pitch this year,” Frank said. “He just hopes I can go a little further than he did.”
Castillo said he dreams now of playing in Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The thought of taking the mound at Wrigley is “frightening. But it’s a good feeling to know that I may get that chance.”
Castillo said he will be assigned later this month to the Cubs’ rookie league team in either Waterloo, Iowa, or Geneva, N.Y. His goal is to be promoted to the Cubs’ Class A team in Peoria, Ill., by the end of the season.
Because he will sign with the Cubs, Castillo will have to break the letter-of-intent to play at the University of Arizona. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t get a college education.
The Cubs will pay for his college education. Castillo said he will attend UTEP in the off season.
“I made a commitment with my parents a few weeks ago to get a college education,” Castillo said. “The Cubs told me they’d pay for it. My mother really wanted me to get it. If I don’t make it in the big leagues, at least I’ll have something to fall back on.”
Henry, 18, said he was “devastated” when he wasn’t selected in Tuesday’s draft. After a long discussion with his parents though, he said not being drafted may be a blessing in disguise.
He said the Cincinnati Reds had planned to take him in the fifth round, but their offer of $25,000 was far bellow Henry’s minimum salary request of $60,000.
Henry, the El Paso Times player of the Year, quickly turned his attention to Texas. He said he has been watching the Longhorns play in the College World Series. While watching Texas pitchers on the mound, he dreams about being in their position.
“I realize that Frank and I were in a no-lose situation,” Henry said of the pitchers’ choice between college and professional baseball.
“(Texas coach) Cliff Gustafson told me I have a 99.5 percent chance to start for the Longhorns next year,” Henry said. “My immediate goal is to become an All-American in my freshman season.”
Gustafson has spoken to Henry but has not seen him pitch.
“Some of his assistants coaches watched me pitch against Dallas Jefferson in the Midland Tournament (in March),” Henry said. “The rest of what he heard about me came from pro scouts, which is ironic because I wasn’t drafted.”
Henry won’t be in the major leagues next season but expects to get his chance in 1990.
He said he considers this years draft snub as a “minor setback. I’m just going to take a different path. This is a three-year detour, and hopefully after three years at Texas, I’ll be on the right track.”