Next week will be the 10 year anniversaries of the deaths of Jack Buck and Darryl Kile.
10 years. Wow. I remember these events better than some things I did last week. It took the Angels coming to town for the first time in their history to take Jack Buck up to heaven. I remember Joe Buck calling the Darryl Kile pitched game calmly and quietly while reflecting a bit on his father. I barely remember that the Cardinals won that night. They went into first place that night and held on to it for the rest of the season. Then right after that Tuesday game, Jack passed. I went to Busch Stadium for that visitation. What a quiet and somber event.
Just four days after Jack Buck passed away, the Cardinals were in Chicago to play the Cubs. I remember seeing Joe Girardi come on screen and said due to a tragedy in the Cardinals family, the commissioner cancelled the game. Thirty minutes or so later, it was announced that Darryl Kile had died in his hotel room. Someone knew that Joe would play for the Cardinals at a later date. He earned my respect that day. Another sad visitation occurred.
I will never forget Matt Morris with DK 57 on his hands at the All-Star game. The Cardinals team was hurt by the losses of Jack and Darryl. I can remember Tony LaRussa saying it was his hardest year ever as a manager. Darryl Kile’s number now hangs in black in the back of the Cardinals bullpen and in Houston and Colorado also. Darryl touched many players and fans during his years. In 2003, the Darryl Kile Good Guy Award was established and is presented annually to the Cardinals and Astros player who best exemplify Kile as “a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man.” The first two recipients were Jeff Bagwell and Mike Matheny.
I can feel sadness in me as I reflect on these events. I was raised listening to Jack Back call my St. Louis Cardinals games. He told me about every game. He is known for telling me and Cardinals Nation to ‘Go Crazy’ and to ‘Stand up and applaud’ among other things. His poem after 9/11 was a great exclamation point on his career and calmed a nation as they went back to play baseball on 9/17. This was his final public appearance. I will always remember the chills I felt when he asked ‘Should we be here?’ and answered immediately ‘Yes!’ He spoke to Cardinals Nation and the world that night like no other person could. This to me is one of my proudest Jack Buck memories.
Since this nation was founded under
God, more than 200 years ago,
We’ve been the bastion of
The light which keeps the free world
We do not covet the possessions of
Others, we are blessed with the
Bounty we share.
We have rushed to help other
War is just not our nature…we
Won’t start, but we will end the fight.
If we are involved we shall be
Resolved to protect what we know is
We’ve been challenged by a
Cowardly foe, who strikes and then
Hides from our view.
With one voice we say there’s no
Choice today, there is only one
Thing to do.
Everyone is saying the same thing
And praying that we end these
Senseless moments we are living.
As our fathers did before, we shall
Win this unwanted war.
And our children will enjoy the
Future, we’ll be giving.
These two great members of Cardinals Nation were great people, friends, parents and role models for generations to come. They showed everyone, not just Cardinals Nation.