|Darryl Kile 1968-2002|
|St. Louis Cardinals veteran pitcher
Darryl Kile was found dead in his
hotel room Saturday, apparently
of natural causes.
The 33-year-old Kile, father of
5-year-old twins and a son born
last August, was found in his bed.
There were no signs of forced
entry and no signs of foul play, said
Michael Chasen of the Chicago
It appears he died in his bed, in his sleep," Chasen said.
| The Cardinals became alarmed when several teammates realized he wasn't
at the park several hours before Saturday's game, which eventually was
postponed. The Cardinals called the hotel, where security had to force its way
into the room because of the safety latch on the door.
''This has been a tumultous week, to say the least,'' said Joe Buck, voice of the
Cardinals, in an interview with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on FOX TV.
''News today just hits you in the stomach and keeps on hitting you. It's
unbelievable to think that Darryl Kile passed away.''
Buck himself and countless sports fans have mourned the passing of Buck's
legendary father, broadcaster Jack Buck, for much of the last week. The elder
Buck had battled illness for a considerable amount of time. Kile, meanwhile,
had been exceptional on the mound in his last start, a Tuesday victory over
Anaheim, and showed no known signs of physical difficulty.
''The news has devastated our club,'' La Russa said, appearing to be in
disbelief and understandable shock. ''There was no bigger leader on our
ballclub, in every way.''
The Cardinals players have scheduled a team meeting for Saturday evening.
The team is expected to resume play Sunday night against the Cubs at Wrigley
Field. Kile was their scheduled starter. How the team responds to this tragedy,
naturally, was the least of La Russa's worries. ''Right now, it's unanimous in
our clubhouse, every concern is about [Kile's widow] Flynn and the children. ...
There wasn't one concern about what this does for our club on the field.''
Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement, "My deepest sympathies go out
to Darryl's family, his friends and the St. Louis Cardinals ballclub. All of
baseball mourns his passing."
|Kile was among the most popular
players with his teammates. He
played for Houston, Colorado and
the Cardinals. "I couldn't believe it
and I still don't believe it," Cubs
manager Don Baylor said. "'D.K.'
was a very special player that I had,
I recruited him to Colorado. He
signed with me as a free agent in
Colorado. The years that I had him
there, he never complained about the
altitude. He was always a perfect
teammate to all his guys who played with
him, guys like Larry Walker,
[Mike] Lansing, guys who will be
devasted. Everybody who played
with him feels the same way.
| "He was a family guy. He came out every day after throwing 130
pitches and he'd come out and play catch with somebody."
Baylor remembers seeing Kile working with struggling Cardinals pitcher
Rick Ankiel last year.
"He was out there, half an hour, 40 minutes playing catch with him,
trying to teach him things with his control," Baylor said of Kile. "He
pitched that night and shut us out.
"My respect goes out to his family. It's tough," Baylor said. "All the
baseball guys around who knew him, didn't know him, we're all in this
together. It's a family."
"Family" meant more to Kile than just his baseball relationships. His
young family, which included wife Flynn, meant the world to him. In a
special Father's Day story on MLB.com, Kile said, "My kids and my
wife help me enjoy things other than baseball. I look forward to days
off when I can hang out around the house, take the kids somewhere or
do something like that."
Saturday's game was scheduled to start at 2:20 p.m. CDT. Around
2:40 p.m., La Russa walked over to the Cubs dugout and met briefly
with Cubs player representative Joe Girardi, who then spoke to the
sellout crowd at Wrigley Field. Girardi said there had been a "tragedy"
in the Cardinals family and asked fans to be "respectful."
He was flanked by the entire Cubs team, who then filed back into the
dugout. Fans slowly exited from the ballpark, but many stayed in their
"We wanted to do something that conveyed the solemnity of the
situation," Cubs President Andy MacPhail said. "We came up with the
idea to get ... the whole team behind them dressed in their whites and
have player rep Joe Girardi speak."
Umpire crew chief Mark Hirschbeck also met with team
representatives Saturday, then contacted Selig before deciding to
postpone the game.
"About 1:30, [Cardinals senior vice president and general manager]
Walt Jocketty called me from the hotel to let me know the tragedy that
occurred and asked me to talk to Tony," said MacPhail, Cubs
president and general manager.
MacPhail had gone into the Cardinals clubhouse.
"I don't know that I have the words for it," MacPhail said. "If you had
walked through the Cardinals clubhouse, it would hit you square
between the eyes."
Kile won his last start against Anaheim on Tuesday, going 7 2/3 innings.
He gave up one run on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
He had a 133-119 career record over 10-plus seasons in the big
leagues. He began his career in the Houston organization, a 30th-round
pick in the June 1987 draft. His first year in the Major Leagues was
1991. He threw a no-hitter in 1993 with Houston and was 15-8 that
year. He was 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA this year.
Kile joined St. Louis in November 1999 after a seven-player trade
with the Rockies. The right-hander had seven winning seasons,
including a 20-9 season in 2000, his first in St. Louis.
Carrie Muskat covers the Cubs for MLB.com. This story was not
subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.