Well ignore my blog post from earlier today – Starlin Castro is the real deal AND he WILL make a difference for the Cubs in 2010.
At the age of 20, Castro became the youngest Cubs player to make his debut since Oscar Gamble did so back in August 1969. Taking it even further back, he also became the youngest Cubs player to make his debut at shortstop since Marty Shay did so back in September 1916 — almost 100 years!
As if any of this wasn’t good enough, Castro had one of the most memorable games that ANY Cubs player has had in recent history. In his 1st ever major league at-bat, Castro crushed a 2-2 Homer Bailey pitch over the right field wall for a 3-run home run. He was the 1st Cubs player to hit a home run is his 1st ever major league at-bat since Jim Bullinger – a pitcher – did so in June 1992. Ironically, the Cubs had that happen to them in the opening game of the 2010 MLB schedule in Atlanta when rookie right fielder Jason Heyward clubbed a 3-run home run off of Carlos Zambrano in his 1st ever major league at-bat.
One more stat – Castro set a major league record with 6 RBI’s in his first ever major league game. Several other players had had 5 RBI’s in their major league debuts (Most recently by Ben Grieve in 1997), but Castro topped them all with his incredible performance. A 3-run HR and a bases-clearing triple that plated 3 runs helped the Cubs crush the Reds 14-7 in Cincinnati.
What can I say – although I did say that I thought he would succeed, I never envisioned something like this. Talk about an injection of energy into a quiet club house. Wrigley Field is sure going to be rocking on Monday night when Castro makes his debut at the Friendly Confines…