"Obviously, it's a huge honor for me and my wife as well, to be just nominated for this award," Castro said. "You see a lot of the other nominees and all the great things they've done in their communities, and to find guys that are equally passionate about the things that they choose to get involved in, it's great to see a lot of guys are giving back and making a difference when they can."
Castro and his wife, Maris, both graduates of Stanford University, launched their multifaceted initiative, "Castro's Kids" program in 2013, which provides incentives to encourage students to embrace literacy. The couple donates its time to make school library visits, plays host to school children at the ballpark and holds book drives collecting new and gently used books for school libraries in the Houston Independent School District.
Castro also supports the Astros Foundation's cornerstone programs -- the Community Leaders program, Astros Urban Youth Academy and the Astros RBI Program. Earlier this season, Castro also supported the Astros Minute Maid Grand Slam for Youth Baseball Scholarship Program by recording a PSA that was featured in high schools in the Houston area.
There were more than 1.3 million fan votes last year, and fans can start voting again on Wednesday at ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media. Voting ends on Oct. 6, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to next month's World Series.
The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel of dignitaries, which includes Commissioner Bud Selig; MLB chief operating officer and Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred; Vera Clemente; Hall of Fame Broadcaster and the Spanish Voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers Jaime Jarrin; MLB Network analysts and former Clemente Award winners Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds (also of FOX Sports) and John Smoltz (also of FOX Sports); Hall of Famer, ESPN analyst and former Clemente Award winner Barry Larkin; ESPN analyst and former Clemente Award winner Rick Sutcliffe; FOX broadcaster Joe Buck; Hall of Famer and TBS analyst Dennis Eckersley; TBS analyst Ron Darling (also of MLB Network); MLB.com senior correspondent Hal Bodley; a representative from Chevrolet and others.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.