John Castro was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, but grew up in Chicago after his family moved there when he was just three years old. John graduated from Lane Tech High on the north side of Chicago where he was on the Indians baseball team. He also played Connie Mack baseball as a teen. John also played men’s baseball and fastpitch softball in the Chicago area on and off until the age of 38.
He worked for Atlantic Richfield for a couple years before Uncle Sam called him in the first “lottery draft” during the Vietnam War era. Since two older brothers had served in Vietnam, he was assigned stateside duty as an MP at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. John played post baseball and fastpitch softball while in the Army.
After his service, John briefly returned to Atlantic Richfield before going to work for the Chicago City Parks Department at Humboldt Park. He was a recreational leader/physical instructor, gymnastics coach, and also coached various team sports. After six years, he found his true calling in law enforcement. John was a Chicago “city cop” and detective for 14 years before relocating with his family to Phoenix.
In Phoenix, he joined the staff of the State of Arizona’s Public Defender’s Office. He was an investigative supervisor involved in many capital cases. After 11 years, he went to work for the Federal Courts System as a Capital Habeas Investigator. Among his duties were locating and interviewing witnesses, locating relevant documents and other evidence, and assisting with the preparation and presentations for evidentiary hearings. His job required extensive travel throughout the country. During his 13 years with the federal government, he was involved in several high-profile cases, including some involving the 911 attacks like the infamous Zacharias Moussaoui (the so-called 20th bomber) case as well as two “enemy combatants” imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.
John briefly retired before going back to work for two years in the County Public Defender’s Office Capital Appeals Unit. In 2015, he “really retired.” John’s wife Alice, a lead psychiatric nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital, retired two years later, so the Castros now have more time for leisure activities. Alice and John have two children: daughter Carin who lives in Gambrills, Maryland (near Annapolis), and son Juan who’s in Tucson. Both children are University of Arizona grads. Carin, a chiropractor, is married with a young daughter. Her husband works at the Pentagon.
Alice and John enjoy traveling, especially cruising. They’ve done several Caribbean cruises and are now planning a long Mediterranean cruise in the near future. They enjoy visiting the granddaughter back in Maryland. John’s other interests include hiking, woodworking, and reading, especially history books and biographies.
John’s played a lot of baseball, fastpitch and slowpitch softball over the years. He was a member of some of the top men’s baseball and fastpitch teams in the Chicago area. In addition to currently playing in our league, he’s on two tournament travel teams. He’s one of our top hitters for both average and power. John says he hopes to continue playing for many more years. After all, it’s in his bloodlines; he has two brothers living in Florida who are playing in an “over 80” league!