Former Cubs pitcher and minor league coach Frank Castillo died Sunday in Bartlett Lake near Phoenix, his family announced. He was 44.
The 13-year major league veteran drowned while swimming in the lake.
Castillo was the third pitcher from the ’97 Cubs to suffer a tragic death. Kevin Foster died after a six-month bout with renal cell carcinoma in 2008, and Geremi Gonzalez was struck by lightning, also in 2008.
Castillo had a career record of 82-104, with a 4.56 ERA. His biggest moment as a Cub came on Sept. 25, 1995, when he was one pitch away from becoming the first Cub in 23 years to throw a no-hitter. Harry Caray was going wild in the Cubs TV booth, and his former wife, Tracy, was constantly shown in the stands cheering him on.
Castillo had two strikes on Cardinals outfielder Bernard Gilkey with two outs in the ninth of a 7-0 win when Gikley lined a high fastball to right in front of a diving Sammy Sosa to spoil the no-hit bid. The ball rolled past Sosa to the wall for a triple, leaving Castillo with a magnificent one-hit effort that earned several standing ovations from the crowd of about 10,000.