Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile.
Kyle died in his sleep June 21. An initial autopsy reveled that
Kyle died of coronary atherosclerosis, a blockage of main arteries to
the heart. Kile, who left a wife and three children, was just 33.
Magnante and Kile were teammates with the Houston Astros in 1997,
and Magnante has many fond memories of his fallen colleague. He said
he was also shocked when he first heard of his former teammate's
"I was on the team bus going to the stadium and one of our
relievers, Jim Mecir, said Darryl Kile was found dead. At first I was
almost like 'it can't be right,' '' said Magnante, a relief pitcher
with Oakland. "I called my wife right away to turn on the TV to see
if it was true, and unfortunately, it was.
"On our team, we have three guys who played with him and Art Howe
Although they played together for just one season, Magnante -- who
played at UCLA -- and Kile knew each other long before the 1997
"Darryl once told me he'd been on a recruiting trip to UCLA and he
remembered me," said Magnante, of Kile, who grew up in the Inland
Empire. "We followed each other through the minors. We played against
each other in Class-A ball and in Double A.''
Although both went on to have successful major league careers,
they shared struggles together in the minors.
"He told me once we had set a Southern League record on the same
night in two different cities, and it's a record you don't want to
remember because we both walked the first six batters we faced,''
Magnante, 37, who began his career with the Kansas City Royals,
joined the Astros in 1997.
"When I went to spring training, Darryl was one of the first guys
to come over and greet me. He was recounting the UCLA thing. It was
like we had been friends for years,'' Magnante said.
Both Kile and Magnante had the best seasons of their career in
1997. Kile went 19-7 with a 2.57 earned-run average and Magnante went
3-1 with a 2.27 earned-run average out of the bullpen.
"In Houston, I'd play catch with Billy Wagner, but I'd [go] over
to Darryl and I'd get down like a catcher and catch him. Darryl is