Darryl Kile's final line
The no-hitter would be the last one thrown in the Astrodome and it would be nearly 10 years until another no-hitter was thrown by an Astros pitcher(s) (June 11, 2013, the six-pitcher no-hitter).
According to Astrosdaily.com, out of all the Astros no-hitters Kile came the closest to a perfect game. He allowed a 4th-inning walk.
So, if Kile threw a no-hitter and was the closest Astros player to a perfect game how the heck did the New York Mets score a run?
In the top of the fourth inning, with one out, Jeff McKnight walked on four straight balls. The next batter Eddie Murray hit a deep fly ball to left field for the second out. McKnight was unable to advance on the play. Kile then threw a wild pitch on an 0-2 count to Joe Orsulak. McKnight advanced to third but then scored on a throwing error to third base by Jeff Bagwell. Quite possibly, the most unlikely way to score a run during a no-hitter.
Kile was also the beneficiary of some spectacular defensive plays behind him, though. Ken Caminiti manning the hot corner and Andujar Cedeno at shortstop made back-to-back plays on hard hit balls in the top of the seventh inning to preserve Kile's no-hitter. I wanted to GIF both those plays for this post but was unable to find footage of the entire game online.
Kile would finish the 1993 season with a 110 ERA+. He would struggle the next three years before breaking through with a 156 ERA+ in 1997. He signed with the Colorado Rockies that offseason and pitched two mediocre years with them before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. With the Cardinals he would regain his form.
He posted a 125 ERA+ in 82 games with the Cards over three seasons. Then tragedy struck, during the 2002 season. On June 22, 2002, with the Cardinals preparing to take on the Chicago Cubs, Darryl Kile was found dead in his hotel room.
MLB Network took a look back at Darryl Kile's passing on the 10 year anniversary of his death.
I remember the first piece of Astros memorabilia I got was a wooden baseball card stand with a small bat to prop the card up. That stand came with a Darryl Kile card. I don't remember exactly when I got it or how I got it, but I got it early in my Astros fandom, which as many of you know came in the late 90s. By that time Kile had moved on from the Astros. Most of the memories I have of Kile is him pitching against the Astros as a Cardinal.
But, I also remember hearing the news of Kile's death and watching Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell standing on the field with tears in their eyes during a moment of silence. I remember thinking about the type impact Kile must have had on Biggio and Bagwell and all the other players that were paying their respects in tears.
No Astros, Rockies or Cardinals player has worn the number 57 since Kile's death. His number isn't retired by any of the teams.
Today, both the Houston and St. Louis BBWAA annually honor the Astros and Cardinals player that best represents what Darryl Kile was:
- A good teammate
- A great friend
- A fine father
- A humble man
The award is called the Darryl Kile Good Guy Award. Jeff Bagwell won the award the first year and Carlos Corporan won it last year.
Darryl Kile's career ended with a 133-119 record and the last no-hitter in Astrodome history, but he's remembered for so much more. And now he'll live forever in a repeating image of one of his greatest moments on the baseball field.
EDIT: I got this recollection of events in an email from fantastic reader, Rick, and I thought it was too good to not share:
There is a part of the story as it relates to the Astros I wish would get more mention. The MLB network piece didn't bring it up which isn't surprising but I'm surprised Astros fans may not remember this either. I was at the Astros game that Saturday. As we were filtering the breaking news of Kile's death, me and my brother noticed there was no Biggio or Bagwell in the line up. It was then we realized just how hard Kile's death must have hit them. We didn't live in Houston so the sorry selfish part of me wanted to mope that the one game I get to go to I won't see the Bagwell and Biggio. Fortunately the good side of the Force won and I was able to put everything in its proper context. The incredible part was that this game went extra innings. The Astros are running out of players so I get to see Biggio pinch hit in the bottom of the 11th. Everyone is going crazy and pulling so hard for Biggio knowing the emotions he must be going through. But alas, Biggio is retired and we go to the 12th. But that's where in the bottom half, it was Jeff Bagwell's turn to pinch hit and he delivered the walk off hit. We were all running around celebrating with tears in our eyes. That alone should be another bullet point in Bagwell's case for the Hall of Fame(Or maybe not). Anyways, I think Bagwell getting a game winning pinch hit on the day of good friend and former Astro Darryl Kile's death doesn't get enough mention in Astros lore. If it was NY and Derek Jeter the whole world would know about it a millionth time over. As it is, not enough Astros fans remember that day.