FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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.

July 09, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 Exposes the Weakness of a Major Theory Used to Justify Capitalism
Ahrar Ahmad
Racism in America: Police Choke-Holds Are Not the Issue
Timothy M. Gill
Electoral Interventions: a Suspiciously Naïve View of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War World
Daniel Falcone
Cold War with China and the Thucydides Trap: a Conversation with Richard Falk
Daniel Beaumont
Shrink-Wrapped: Plastic Pollution and the Greatest Economic System Jesus Ever Devised
Prabir Purkayastha
The World Can Show How Pharma Monopolies Aren’t the Only Way to Fight COVID-19
Gary Leupp
“Pinning Down Putin” Biden, the Democrats and the Next War
Howard Lisnoff
The Long Goodbye to Organized Religion
Cesar Chelala
The Dangers of Persecuting Doctors
Mike Garrity – Erik Molvar
Back on the List: A Big Win for Yellowtone Grizzlies and the Endangered Species Act, a Big Loss for Trump and Its Enemies
Purusottam Thakur
With Rhyme and Reasons: Rap Songs for COVID Migrants
Binoy Kampmark
Spiked Concerns: The Melbourne Coronavirus Lockdown
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela is on a Path to Make Colonialism Obsolete
George Ochenski
Where are Our Political Leaders When We Really Need Them?
Dean Baker
Is it Impossible to Envision a World Without Patent Monopolies?
William A. Cohn
Lead the Way: a Call to Youth
July 08, 2020
Laura Carlsen
Lopez Obrador’s Visit to Trump is a Betrayal of the U.S. and Mexican People
Melvin Goodman
Afghanistan: What is to be Done?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
The End of the American Newspaper
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Merits of Medicare for All Have Been Proven by This Pandemic
David Rosen
It’s Now Ghislaine Maxwell’s Turn
Nicolas J S Davies
Key U.S. Ally Indicted for Organ Trade Murder Scheme
Bob Lord
Welcome to Hectobillionaire Land
Laura Flanders
The Great American Lie
John Kendall Hawkins
Van Gogh’s Literary Influences
Marc Norton
Reopening vs. Lockdown is a False Dichotomy
Joel Schlosberg
“All the Credit He Gave Us:” Time to Drop Hamilton’s Economics
CounterPunch News Service
Tribes Defeat Trump Administration and NRA in 9th Circuit on Sacred Grizzly Bear Appeal
John Feffer
The US is Now the Global Public Health Emergency
Nick Licata
Three Books on the 2020 Presidential Election and Their Relevance to the Black Live Matter Protests
Elliot Sperber
The Breonna Taylor Bridge
July 07, 2020
Richard Eskow
The War on Logic: Contradictions and Absurdities in the House’s Military Spending Bill
Daniel Beaumont
Gimme Shelter: the Brief And Strange History of CHOP (AKA CHAZ)
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s War
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Racism May be Blatant, But the Culture He Defends Comes Out of the Civil War and Goes Well Beyond Racial Division
Andrew Stewart
Can We Compare the George Floyd Protests to the Vietnam War Protests? Maybe, But the Analogy is Imperfect
Walden Bello
The Racist Underpinnings of the American Way of War
Nyla Ali Khan
Fallacious Arguments Employed to Justify the Revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s Autonomy and Its Bifurcation
Don Fitz
A Statue of Hatuey
Dean Baker
Unemployment Benefits Should Depend on the Pandemic
Ramzy Baroud – Romana Rubeo
Will the ICC Investigation Bring Justice for Palestine?
Sam Pizzigati
Social Distancing for Mega-Million Fun and Profit
Dave Lindorff
Private: Why the High Dudgeon over Alleged Russian Bounties for Taliban Slaying of US Troops
George Wuerthner
Of Fire and Fish
Binoy Kampmark
Killing Koalas: the Promise of Extinction Down Under
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail