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

 

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 23, 2017
Kenneth Surin
Discussing Trump Abroad
Jay Moore
The Failure of Reconstruction and Its Consequences
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Trout and Ethnic Cleansing
John W. Whitehead
Don’t Just Give Thanks, Pay It Forward One Act of Kindness at a Time
Chris Zinda
Zinke’s Reorganization of the BLM Will Continue Killing Babies
David Krieger
Progress Toward Nuclear Weapons Abolition
Rick Baum
While Public Education is Being Attacked: An American Federation of Teachers Petition Focuses on Maintaining a Minor Tax Break
Paul C. Bermanzohn
The As-If Society
Cole A. Turner
Go Away, Kevin Spacey
Ramzy Baroud
70 Years of Broken Promises: The Untold Story of the Partition Plan
Binoy Kampmark
A New Movement of Rights and the Right in Australia
George Ochenski
Democratic Party: Discouraged, Disgusted, Dysfunctional
Nino Pagliccia
The Governorship Elections in Venezuela: an Interview With Arnold August
Christopher Ketcham
Spanksgiving Day Poem
November 22, 2017
Jonathan Cook
Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot
William Kaufman
The Great American Sex Panic of 2017
Richard Moser
Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness
Lee Artz
Cuba Libre, 2017
Mark Weisbrot
Mass Starvation and an Unconstitutional War: US / Saudi Crimes in Yemen
Frank Stricker
Republican Tax Cuts: You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes
Edward Hunt
Reconciling With Extremists in Afghanistan
Dave Lindorff
Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman
Nick Pemberton
What to do About Al Franken?
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail