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Remembering Darryl Kile

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Behad, May 29, 2004.

  1. Behad

    Behad Contributing Member

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    From today's Chronicle:

    Bagwell still misses Kile

    Jeff Bagwell thinks about him almost every day even now.

    Almost two years have passed since Darryl Kile died in that Chicago hotel room, and some days are worse than others. Yet the loss is still there, still gnawing and painful, still almost incomprehensible at times.

    "I don't know if I can describe it," Bagwell said. "I just feel sad."

    Sad there won't be another trip to Pebble Beach. Sad there won't be any more golf bets or long dinners or late-night telephone calls.

    Sad there won't be any of a thousand other things close friends share.

    Bagwell still occasionally peeks into the home dugout at Busch Stadium and expects to see his buddy sitting within earshot of first base. That's where Kile offered a running commentary of Bagwell's every problem.

    "He'd be on me the whole game," Bagwell said. "I'd look over there, and he'd say, 'How could you have missed that pitch in the third inning? Are you OK?' "

    Then later, they'd go out and swap lies and laugh and catch up.


    A shocking death
    Kile's death from heart disease on June 22, 2002, stunned the sports world. What amazes his friends even now is how he continued to pitch even while complaining of fatigue in his shoulder, even while knowing something wasn't right.

    What he saw as just another ailment to push through was actually killing Kile.

    All he knew was that he was paid to take the ball and keep going, so that's what he did.

    Athletes suffer so many aches and pains they sometimes have trouble knowing when it's serious.

    Kile's father died of heart disease, so even though he was only 33, Kile knew he was at risk.

    "We should have forced him to go in and get checked," Bagwell said. "I still think about that part of it. It didn't have to happen.

    "The thing is, Darryl wasn't going to die. He took care of himself. He was a horse. If one of us was going to die, it was going to be me."

    Kile's memory has become a distant one for most people, including most of those who knew him as an opponent, a name or a guy in a uniform.


    Beloved friend, teammate
    For the Astros and Cardinals, it remains more personal because Kile left behind teammates and friends who loved him and who'd celebrated marriages and children and hundreds of highs and lows with him.

    As the second anniversary of his death approaches, his absence is still felt. Whenever the Cardinals and Astros play, his life and accomplishments are more vivid.

    "I think about his kids growing up without a father," said Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds, his voice fading.

    Edmonds points to his right wrist and the tattoo that reads "DK57"— for Kile's initials and jersey number.

    "I didn't know him as well as Jeff and some others," Edmonds said, "but I know what kind of person he was. I saw his kids around here. I saw how he loved them. I know what kind of teammate he was."

    Cardinals manager Tony La Russa keeps one of Kile's jerseys in his office.

    "He was the ideal man and teammate," La Russa said. "He was one of those guys who never made an excuse. On the days he wasn't pitching, he didn't disappear. He was interested in the game.

    "If someone had a problem, he listened."

    Still, almost no one felt his loss more than Bagwell.

    He and Kile arrived in the big leagues together in 1991 as wide-eyed kids, strong and indestructible. They rode to the ballpark together in Kile's pickup truck and, over the years, golfed and vacationed together, shared good times and bad.

    They remained close even after Kile signed with the Colorado Rockies following the 1997 season.

    "You see young guys getting upset when one of their friends is traded," Bagwell said. "I tell them, 'Hey, your friendship will last forever.' That doesn't change when someone gets a different uniform."

    That Bagwell and Kile would become close is no surprise to people who knew both men.

    Both were constructed of a quiet decency that made them more admired inside their clubhouses than out.

    In those early years, thrown onto a veteran team, they kept mainly to themselves and had the good sense to speak when spoken to.

    Upon hearing that Kile drove to the Astrodome in a pickup truck, a Houston public-relations woman offered to get both men new cars if they'd sign some autographs for a local dealership.

    Kile said he was fine with the truck but wondered if she knew anyone with golf clubs. On the day he and Bagwell signed autographs and picked out clubs at a local golf shop, they looked like the happiest guys on earth.

    They were on the 1997 National League All-Star squad together and were teammates on that year's Astros club that won a division championship — the one Bagwell and Craig Biggio still remember as the sweetest of all.

    Kile left after seven years in Houston, but the friendships endured.

    So does the pain.

     
  2. Miguel

    Miguel Contributing Member

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    :(

    I remember when I heard he died. I was sitting at my aunt's house watching ESPN and they had a "breaking news" Sportscenter-esque update saying he was missing, then a short while later they said he was found dead in his hotel room. For the rest of the day, I tuned in to the news channels (not much there) ESPN radio (I believe it was the D-Pizzle show) and then the newspaper the next morning. I had only seen him pitch a few times in Houston, but I always watched him pitch in Astros/Cards games that were televised or that were here in Houston.

    Dude had a nasty curveball. :(
     
  3. Dave2000

    Dave2000 Contributing Member

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    I just got done reading it in the paper. Really a tragic story. I was a bit upset he left us after winning the division for the first time in awhile but still seems like a great person. I remember someboday mentioning his death here on the BBS, moments later on ESPN's website and i was really upset and suprised. I saw him when he played against the Astros back in 2001 and actually pitched a great game. He died the day after my birthday, so its something I wont forget.
     
  4. Austin70

    Austin70 Contributing Member

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    Back in September of 97, i took my 4 year old daughter to the Astros - Dodgers game, Kile pitched a pretty good game. After the game we went where the players leave the stadium and this was the only time we ever tried to get autographs. She was on my shoulders and every player that went by she would yell their name and no one would sign. Then, when Kile walked by she said in her little 4 year old voice "You pitched a great game Darryl." He signed our program and I left there with respect for him. I was mad when he left the stros, but I still never lost respect for him.
     
  5. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    I remember where I was as well. Major, another buddy and I had just got back to the car after watching UT win the national championship in Omaha. Made the car ride very somber.
     
  6. Rocket Fan

    Rocket Fan Member

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    I remember I heard it on the car radio and was in shock the rest of the way home. Then several of the astros decided to not start that night and one of them came in late to either get the game winning hit or run.. and cried at home plate.. and they had DK's jersey in the dugout and all.. I think it was bagwell? very emotional night...

    They also put something in the outfield for him the rest of the year I guess.. it has been removed now I guess? at least I haven't seen it unless they put it up somewhere else now...

    june 22nd will always be a bittersweet day in houston.. the anniversary of the rockets first championship, but also of DK's death
     
  7. Behad

    Behad Contributing Member

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    On the wall, above the Crawford boxes, but below the train track, is a round plaque with "DK 57" on it.
     
  8. Rocket Fan

    Rocket Fan Member

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    behad.... awesome, did it used to be in the outfield at one point? I was thinking it was and then when i saw it not there anymore figured they had decided to remove it and wasn't sure how they would handle the situation.. he wasnt' the calibar played you'd retire a jersey for most likely, but the way he died there needs to be some honoring of him.. VERY GLAD to hear that they still have something up.. classy move by the astros..
     
  9. Bailey

    Bailey Veteran Member

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    Such a sad story. Kile was pitching in the first baseball game I ever saw, and as such, I always remembered him, and looked for his games, even when I didn't really follow the Astros.

    :(
     
  10. Rule0001

    Rule0001 Contributing Member

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    never liked the fact that kile left houston...... but what a player....

    but a true class act as a person and a helluva ball player


    R.I.P. KILE
     
  11. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!

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    A class act, I hope his wife and kids are ok.

    DD
     
  12. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    Man, it's still a tragic loss for baseball. DK will always and forever be in the hearts of Astros fans.
     
  13. rrj_gamz

    rrj_gamz Contributing Member

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    Damn, this is sad...
     

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