FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Darryl Kile’s Great Day

by David Vest

Last Saturday, June 22, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile was found dead at his hotel room, an apparent victim of undetected hardening of the arteries. He was 33. To call his death “unexpected” falls far short of the sense of shock felt through the world of baseball.

Unexpected is a word better employed for what he did on September 8, 1993, pitching in the Dome for the Houston Astros, when he no-hit the New York Mets. I was there, sitting in the gray Loge boxes directly behind home plate. I still have the ticket stub.

I keep it with the stubs from the other two no-hitters I’ve attended. The first was by Nolan Ryan against the Dodgers in 1981, on national television. The other one was Mike Scott’s division-clinching masterpiece against the Giants in 1986. My son Stefan was with me for that one.

All three of my no-hitters were in September, when the games really count, but Kile’s had nothing of the drama of the others. It was a sparsely-attended weekday afternoon game with nothing much on the line, a business person’s special on getaway day.

No one could have imagined Kile would throw a no-hitter that afternoon. Personally I would have thought it was more likely that he would walk the bases loaded, hit a couple of batters, and give up a home run before getting anybody out. Let’s say he had a reputation for control problems at that stage of his career. His curve was unhittable, but why bother to swing at it if he couldn’t get it over?

I got a hot dog and a soda and was back to my seat in time for the anthem, an increasingly ugly moment at the ball park as guest singers reluctant to relinquish the microphone stretch it out longer and longer.

As soon as the first hitter stepped in, it was clear that Kile had his good stuff. The curve was breaking sharply, taking wicked nips at the corner, freezing hitters in their tracks. The ump could have called the game from my seat. A good-hitting Mets team looked helpless. They were.

After the last out I got to my car in time to hear Larry Dierker interview Kile. It was a bravura performance by Dierker. Kile was speechless, barely able to mumble a word or two in answer to any question. Fortunately, Dierker had thrown a no-hitter himself and knew exactly what Kile was feeling.

As of this writing, Kile’s was the last no-hitter thrown by an Astro. My own good fortune in having wandered by sheer accident into three of them both delights and humbles me. Some people, far better fans than I, watch baseball for decades and don’t get to see a no-hitter.

In 1997 Kile went 19-7 for the Astros, with a 2.57 ERA. Over the next two seasons, after signing for big bucks with the Colorado Rockies, he was 21-30, with an ERA over 6.00. He was a 20-game winner for the Cards in 2000.

Now, suddenly, he’s gone, but once, for a couple of hours on a September afternoon, he was an immortal.

David Vest writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He is a poet and piano-player for the Pacific Northwest’s hottest blues band, The Cannonballs.

He can be reached at: davidvest@springmail.com

Visit his website at http://www.rebelangel.com

 

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

More articles by:
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
Binoy Kampmark
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered: a Fragment (Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre)
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail