Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kile's Death Still a Memory That Stops Time for Matheny

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kile's Death Still a Memory That Stops Time for Matheny

Article excerpt

CHICAGO * It's impossible for Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to forget the date because it shares the same number he wears on his jersey and he has a watch forever frozen on it.

On June 22, 2002, Matheny was in the trainer's room in the visitor's clubhouse at Wrigley Field when he learned that his friend, teammate, and pitcher Darryl Kile had died during the night at a downtown Chicago hotel. On Wednesday, 14 years later, and for the first time since, the Cardinals played a game at Wrigley on the exact same date, June 22.

"This clubhouse reminds me of it almost every time," Matheny said in his office after the Cardinals completed a sweep of the Cubs. "I remember where I was. All of it."

One of the iconic photos from that time was of Matheny pausing on the steps of the visitors' dugout and placing a hand on one of Kile's jerseys that hung nearby. It's a moment that Matheny has at his home in a painting, one of the few images he has from his career. And there is the watch.

In 2000, before he won his 20th game of the season, Kile purchased a Rolex to give Matheny as a gift. After the 20th win, Matheny found in front of his locker a box, holding the watch. He wore it often, and he was wearing it the day in Chicago that Kile died. Not too long after he found out, Matheny still sat in the trainer's room and yanked the stem from the watch so it stopped ticking at that moment and stuck with that date.

June 22.

"We haven't been to that hotel. I still haven't worn that watch he gave me, not since," Matheny said. "Every once in while I see that 22 it's symbolic for me and I know."

TOP-PICK PLUMMER OUT

Nick Plummer, the high school outfielder the Cardinals selected 23rd overall in 2015, will miss this season after having surgery on his hand this month. The surgery is the second for the 19-year-old from Michigan, and it interrupts his first full professional season before it truly began.

Plummer had a piece of his hamate bone removed at the end of spring training, and then recently had to have a tear within the hand also addressed. Farm director Gary LaRocque confirmed the second surgery and said the team hopes he'll be able to participate in fall's instructional league. …

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