Luis Castillo has spent much of these last couple of months filling trucks with supplies to send to Puerto Rico. Luis is a young man with Puerto Rican and Dominican parents. He has a lot of family and friends that are suffering in this enchanted island and refuses to stop trying to help.
Luis is a person that for the longest time has understood that as being born in the Bronx, he needs to always be able to help his community. He has two young sons and knows that he must always be an example to them.
All of these incentives to do the right thing he credits to his eight years with the New York Yankees as a Batboy and clubhouse attendant. He says that while with the Yankees he discovered that being a Yankee was more than just playing baseball. He used to listen to some of the players like Derek Jeter and David Cone talk about the importance in helping and giving back to people, especially the less privileged. Through Jeter, he was able to understand about charity foundations and how you could use them to help the kids. At that point, he decided that one day he would create his own foundation and help kids in the Bronx and make sure that they always have back packs and appropriate school supplies etc.
I asked him about how life with the Boss, George Steinbrenner, was in the clubhouse. He said that even though most of the guys would get extremely nervous when the Boss came around, he only noticed true kindness by the Boss towards all of the kids. Luis told me of the time that the Boss was just sitting in the locker room while he was taking out heavy bags to a storage area. The Boss actually asked him if he could help him with the bags. Luis said.” No thank you I’m ok.” The Boss kept staring at Luis as he worked hard at completing his assignment. When Luis finished, the Boss called him over went into his pocket and gave Luis two hundred dollars. He told Luis that he appreciated his hard work and wanted to give him a little bonus.
Luis speaks of his time with the Bronx Bombers with great and true appreciation. As in the movie, “Goodfellas” Luis said that it was a glorious time. If you know anything about the Yankees, it’s a Martin Scorsese movie anyway. You would have to agree with him considering that they went to playoffs and/or the World Series just about every year while he was there.
I asked him if there were any regrets that came with the job and he said that as in all phases of life, yes of course. However, being with the Yankees, the good far outweighed the bad.
In the Bronx a lot of people remember the world champion batboy that Derek Jeter nicknamed Squeegee.
This weekend the community showed its love and appreciation by honoring Luis “Squeegee” Castillo, at the Evo Lounge in New York, for everything he does to help the less privileged both in the Bronx and in Puerto Rico.
I asked Luis how his time with the Yankees as a Batboy influenced all of the positive things that he does and he gave me a big smile and said, “The Yankees influence everything that I do.”
The New York Yankee organization should forever feel proud that they have taken so many kids from the streets of New York and helped make better people of them and have taught them so much about helping others.
I was once one of those kids and without the Yankees I don’t know where I would be today and the same for Luis and so many others that have become wonderful citizens all around our country because of the Yankees influence.
I know that Luis is grateful for his opportunity with the Yankees and the fact that he is a better person for it. Like me, we are batboys forever.