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Rays player, coach offer fond memories of pitcher

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published June 23, 2002


DENVER -- The death of Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile touched the Rays as well.

Infielder Russ Johnson was a teammate of Kile's in Houston in 1997, and hitting coach Milt May was Kile's pitching coach in Colorado in 1999.

May said he remembered Kile as the ultimate professional, someone who never complained about his poor performances in Coors Field and who always wanted the ball.

"I have nothing but good things to say about him," May said. "He really showed me that he was a class guy and a professional. He was really a tough competitor. Every once in a while something like this happens and it wakes you up a little bit. I really thought a lot of him."

Johnson said he was too upset to talk much about Kile. "He was a great guy with a great family, three kids and a beautiful wife," Johnson said. "It's just a sad day."

Manager Hal McRae said Kile's death showed how insignificant the games are, even a tough loss like the Rays' Friday night.

"It seems like you go about your job and worry about your job like it's the most important thing in the world and then something like this happens and it puts everything in perspective," McRae said. "I thought (Friday) night was as worse as it could get."


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