Remembering Darryl Kile

Fourteen years ago tonight was Darryl Kile’s last game, which we obviously did not know at the time. Two years ago, I published this post. It is the most-read post ever at AMF, which touches me, and received a multitude of comments — including one from Flynn Kile Jensen — and I wanted to share it again (particularly since it’s already received quite a few views today).

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12 Years Ago Tonight, Darryl Kile’s Final Inning

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Twelve years ago, it was an ordinary Tuesday night at the ballpark.

On June 18, 2002, the Anaheim Angels played in St. Louis, facing the Cardinals for the first time ever. More than 39,000 people gathered at Busch Stadium, which was a toasty 88 degrees at game time. No surprise at the temperature — it was St. Louis in June.

No one knew the significance of this night, this game, right then.

No one knew what the date would come to mean for Cardinals fans or in Cardinals history.

It was simply a baseball game on a Tuesday night.

Darryl Kile returned to the pitchers mound for the top of the eighth inning, working on a shutout.

Both were season firsts for him, going that deep into a game and holding the opponent scoreless. Twice heā€™d pitched seven innings, both times allowing an earned run, in what had thus far been an up-and-down year.

He didn’t win a game until April 24, then lost three straight. Since mid-May things had been better, three consecutive wins until he hit a bump in the road in his most recent start: five earned runs in only 4 1/3 innings, his shortest outing of the year. His record was 4-4, his ERA 3.97.

Now, in this game, more improvement. Continue reading

Mariano Rivera, Skip Schumaker and Michael Wacha — Oh My!

What do the just-retired greatest closer of all time, a Cardinal-turned-Dodger-now-turned Red and the Cardinals rookie sensation all have in common? Nothing, it would seem — yet posts we wrote about those three were what you read the most at Aaron Miles’ Fastball in 2013.

12-31 collageAfter looking at our picks for the top five stories of the year yesterday, we close out the year today with a look at the most-read posts. And, as you can already see, it’s certainly not a Cardinals only list — although of course they dominate the list. Just not at the top.

No, our No. 1 post of the year (in terms of readership numbers) is one about the man who is used to ending things instead of starting them, Mariano Rivera. Watching the All-Star Game tribute to Mo on July 16 reminded me of the time my Yankees friend Kat and I went to Busch Stadium in 2005 for the Yankees-Cardinals series. We had the opportunity to see something very few people probably even noticed before that Sunday’s game, which I wrote about in The Tale of Mariano Rivera and The Ball Thrown Out of Busch Stadium. It was a fun, entertaining post — and it ended up in Deadspin (which was a surreal moment, and one I had to capture via screenshot). So lots and lots and lots of people ended up reading about what Mo did that day, and it was by far our most read post of the year.

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11 Years Ago Tonight For The Cardinals …

At game time 11 years ago, it was just another night. Just another game.

We didn’t know then what Tuesday, June 18, 2002, would come to signify in St. Louis Cardinals history.

Not long after the Cardinals beat the then-Anaheim Angels came the first shock: Jack Buck, becollage-june 18loved broadcaster, had died.

His son Joe was on Fox Sports Midwest that night, calling the game, the 7-2 win that put the Cardinals into first place, a position they would hold for the rest of the 2002 season.

Remember, through your sadness through the next couple of games, thinking how appropriate it was that the Cardinals were playing the Angels at the time we lost and mourned Jack? It just seemed fitting.

Pitching that Tuesday night, earning his fifth win of the season, was Darryl Kile.

What we didn’t know, what we couldn’t possibly have even comprehended at the time, was that it was for the final time ever.

Four days later, the mourning we still felt over Jack the day after he was laid to rest turned into unbelievable shock and incomprehensible grief as we learned Darryl died in a Chicago hotel room.

Even now, 11 years later, thinking back to that day brings all the memories back. Listening to the Cardinals radio broadcast in my car as I drove to my parents’ house following a cousin’s graduation party, knowing from the on-air descriptions something terrible had happened but — inexplicably — piecing together in my head from what was being said an umpire must have died and that was the reason the game hadn’t started. Arriving at my parents’ house, seeing a Yankees game on FOX instead of the Cardinals and going to their computer room to investigate further. A short while later looking at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s website and learning the awful truth, sharing the moment with my Cardinals fan uncle who was in town for the graduation party too.

Continue reading

Darryl Kile’s Final Inning

It was an ordinary Tuesday night at the ballpark.

On June 18, 2002, the Anaheim Angels played in St. Louis, facing the Cardinals for the first time ever. More than 39,000 people gathered at Busch Stadium, which was a toasty 88 degrees at game time. Of course it was — this was St. Louis in June.

No one knew the significance of this night, this game, right then. No one knew what the date would soon mean for Cardinals fans or in Cardinals history. It was simply a baseball game on a Tuesday night.

Darryl Kile returned to the pitchers mound for the top of the eighth inning, working on a shutout.

Both were season firsts for him — going that deep into a game and holding the opponent scoreless. Twice he’d pitched seven innings, both times allowing an earned run, in what had thus far been an up-and-down year.

He didn’t win a game until April 24, then lost three straight. Since mid-May things had been better, three consecutive wins until he hit a bump in the road last Wednesday: five earned runs in only 4 1/3 innings, his shortest outing of the year. His record was 4-4, his ERA 3.97.

Now, tonight, more improvement.

Continue reading