First Jack Buck, and now Darryl Kile.
Last week was an emotionally tough week for the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
This week won’t be any easier.
The same day Kile pitched the Cardinals into first place in the National League Central Division with a 7-2 win against Anaheim last Tuesday, Buck, the legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster, died at the age of 77 of lung cancer.
Then Kile, known for his curveball and leadership, died in his hotel room in Chicago sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning due to a blocked coronary artery.
Westin Hotel security officials discovered Kile’s body in his room on the 11th floor. With no signs of forced entry or foul play, the case is being investigated as a normal death investigation and not a criminal case.
The discovery of Kile’s body came about two hours before the Cardinals scheduled game at Wrigley Field, which was postponed by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and rescheduled for August.
“This has been a very difficult week with the loss of Jack Buck and now the loss of Darryl Kile,” said Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty. “It’s going to be a real tough mourning period for the Cardinals organization and the city of St. Louis.”
Kile was active in mentoring young pitchers. The 33-year-old has been credited with the progress of Cardinal right-hander Matt Morris, who was 22-8 last season and named to the All-Star team.
In a sport where players earned a total of $317 million while on the disabled list season, Kile worked 2,165 innings in the majors without spending a day on the disabled list.
He also leaves a long trail of friends in a relatively short lifetime, including many with two other organizations, the Colorado Rockies and the Houston Astros.
Houston’s Jeff Bagwell, who broke in with Kile on the 1991 Astros, was so shook up by the news that Houston manager Jimy Williams had to give him the night off.
Kile was 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA this season for the first-place Cardinals. He had a career record of 133-119 in 11 seasons for the Astros, Rockies and Cardinals. Among his career highlights were a no hitter in 1993 for the Astros, three all-star selections and his great 2000 season with St. Louis, when he went 20-9 with a 3.91 ERA and helped the Cards advance to the National League Championship Series.
Buck, on the other hand, was a broadcast legend.
Buck began calling Cardinals games on radio in 1954, teaming first with Harry Caray. Nationally, Buck called Super Bowls, World Series and even pro bowling for CBS, ABC and NBC.
In 1954, Buck beat out Chick Hearn — who went on to become an institution with the Los Angeles Lakers — for a job with the Cardinals.
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame’s broadcaster’s wing in 1987, Buck later became a member of both the broadcasters and radio halls of fame. He was awarded the Pete Rozelle Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and received a lifetime achievement Emmy in 2000.
So where do the Cardinals go now?
In situations like these, Cards manager Tony La Russa is at his best.
Late last season, after the cowardly attacks of Sept. 11, La Russa talked tough with his troops and inspired them to a division title. He still can be inspirational that way.
Instead of winning one for the “Gipper”, St. Louis might just win for Buck and Kile.

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