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Vincent Charles Castino (b. October 11, 1917 in Willisville, Illinois – d. March 6, 1967 in Sacramento, California) was a catcher in Major League Baseball.
Vince spent sixteen seasons in professional baseball from 1936 to 1951. He had eight years of experience in the minors when he debuted with the Chicago White Sox on June 24, 1943. Vince spent the rest of the year with the White Sox and was the team's backup receiver for the 1944 and 1945 seasons. During his time with the Comiskey Park club, Vince appeared in 88 games with 215 at bats, hitting .228 in his only big league experience.
Before his time in the bigs, Vince probably had his best season in 1942, splitting a year with the Lubbock Hubbers of the Class D West Texas-New Mexico League and the Norfolk Tars of the Class B Piedmont League. Vince played 104 games and hit .340. This was somewhat of an illusion, as his impressive numbers came in the West Texas-New Mexico League, a high-offense circuit, while he had much more pedestrian stats with Norfolk.
Castino started the 1943 season with the St. Paul Saints of the American Association, but was recalled by the White Sox on June 22. Castino made his major-league debut two days later, in the second game of a doubleheader in St. Louis. He went 1-for-4, scoring a run and knocking in two (one on a bases-loaded walk).
A month later, Castino had his biggest game in the big leagues and the moment he called his biggest thrill. The White Sox were up 1-0 against the Boston Red Sox in the fourth, but a walk to Luke Appling, a single by Ralph Hodgin, and a walk to Joe Kuhel loaded the bases. Castino deposited the second pitch from Dick Newsome into the screen above the left-field wall and the White Sox were suddenly up 5-0 in a game they won, 5-1. That was one of only four grand slams in the American League in 1943 (the others: Joe Gordon of New York, Rudy York of Detroit, and Frank Skaff of Philadelphia).
Castino’s other major-league home run came on August 15, 1943, as the second of back-to-back home runs (the first being by Kuhel) off the Yankees’ Marius Russo to break a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning of a game the White Sox eventually won 4-3. On August 21 Castino scored from second on a Wally Moses single with two outs in the ninth in the White Sox’ 5-4 walk-off win.
After his years in the majors, Castino spent six more seasons in the minors, catching mostly in AAA to A ball. In 1950, he was with the Amarillo Gold Sox, Little Rock Travelers and the PCL Sacramento Solons, hitting .286 in 80 games. In the minors, Vince appeared in 1,046 contests with four years in AAA, four in AA, three in A, four in B, three in C and six in D. This gave him an incomplete, but closely estimated, .272 career average (898-for-3,296) in the minors.
Castino left baseball after the 1951 season and worked for 13 years as a district circulation manager for the Sacramento Bee newspaper. He also played in an old-timer’s game between the Solons and the San Francisco Seals on August 28, 1954. He scouted for the Solons, was active in youth baseball, and was a regular guest at area baseball dinners such as the annual Woodbridge Country Club event.
He died at 49 after a lingering bout with lung cancer on March 6, 1967 in Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento, CA.
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