FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Darryl Kile’s Great Day

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

 

More articles by:

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.

November 20, 2018
John Davis
Geographies of Violence in Southern California
Anthony Pahnke
Abolishing ICE Means Defunding it
Maximilian Werner
Why (Mostly) Men Trophy Hunt: a Biocultural Explanation
Masturah Alatas
Undercutting Female Circumcision
Jack Rasmus
Global Oil Price Deflation 2018 and Beyond
Geoff Dutton
Why High Technology’s Double-Edged Sword is So Hard to Swallow
Binoy Kampmark
Charges Under Seal: US Prosecutors Get Busy With Julian Assange
Rev. William Alberts
America Fiddles While California Burns
Forrest Hylton, Aaron Tauss and Juan Felipe Duque Agudelo
Remaking the Common Good: the Crisis of Public Higher Education in Colombia
Patrick Cockburn
What Can We Learn From a Headmaster Who Refused to Allow His Students to Celebrate Armistice Day?
Clark T. Scott
Our Most Stalwart Company
Tom H. Hastings
Look to the Right for Corruption
Edward Hunt
With Nearly 400,000 Dead in South Sudan, Will the US Finally Change Its Policy?
Thomas Knapp
Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago
November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” Given Their Record in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail