Death of Cardinals’ pitcher makes you think

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Sports Editor

Boy grows up. Gets drafted. Lives the good life, playing baseball for a living.

Dies of coronary artery blockage.

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Poor Darryl Kile.

Kile passed away at night, probably while he was asleep. Saturday, his St. Louis Cardinals were to take on the Chicago Cubs, but Kile never made it to Wrigley Field. He was still in his hotel room. Dead.

Fittingly, the game was called off, leaving the Cardinals’ organization reeling. Kile’s death was the second in a week for St. Louis, which also lost eternal broadcaster Jack Buck last Tuesday to illness.

But Buck was 77-years-old. His race had been run.

Kile was 33, just out of the starter’s gate.

An autopsy on Sunday revealed that two of the coronary artery’s three branches were basically blocked. Kile had no history of heart problems, but his genetic make-up may have mapped out his eventual fate. His father died of a heart attack in 1993 and he was in his mid-40s.

The death of his father should have been a warning light to Kile, yet he grieved and moved on. And it’s ironic that doing the same thing which made him his living, probably cost him his life. Kile had dinner with his brother on Friday night and openly complained about weakness and pain in his shoulder, a condition which may have led him to believe it was caused by his pitching.

Like any athlete, he probably shrugged it off as such.

A few hours later, the Grim Reaper came calling in Chicago.

Although reports have stated that a substance similar to marijuana may have been found in Kile’s hotel room, there’s nothing to suggest it killed him. Kile was 6-foot-5 and, excuse the cliche’, in the "prime of his life." The Cardinals’ assistant team physician, Dr. Jim Loomis, said that, prior to Saturday, Kile had exhibited no health problems and was taking no medication.

You know what would have probably saved Darryl Kile?

A simple little drug called aspirin.

How cruel is that.

No last-second surgeries. No expensive procedures. No endless bottles of medicine.

A little white pill just might have been able to keep Darryl Kile alive. Keep his arteries clear enough until he realized that something was wrong and he needed to see a doctor. Keep his blood thin.

But at 33-years-old, Darryl Kile just didn’t know what hit him.

R.I. P Darryl.