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Tuesday, June 25
Updated: June 26, 2:26 PM ET
Video tribute, 57-second silence part of ceremony

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Fans at Busch Stadium observed 57 seconds of silence, Darryl Kile's uniform number, in a ceremony Tuesday night before the St. Louis Cardinals' first home game since the death of their pitcher.

Fernando Vina and Albert Pujols
Fernando Vina, left, and Albert Pujols try to compose themselves after the pregame ceremony honoring Darryl Kile.

Several teammates wept during a brief video tribute to the career of Kile, who died Saturday at the age of 33. The team received a prolonged ovation before assembling near home plate for the ceremony.

''The St. Louis Cardinals family sustained an unbearable loss,'' chairman of the board Bill DeWitt Jr. said. ''He was a great teammate and leader and a wonderful family man.''

The start of the Cardinals-Brewers game was pushed back 20 minutes for the ceremony.

Dozens of former teammates, flying in from all over the country, will attend a public memorial service at Busch for Kile on Wednesday.

''You're going to hear a lot of good things about him, and it's all true,'' said former Cardinals teammate Kent Bottenfield, who drove with his family from Indianapolis. ''He was a very giving, very caring guy, and I'm just glad I got to know him.''

Among the scheduled speakers at the memorial service are Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros, retired pitcher Doug Drabek, Rockies pitcher Pete Harnisch and Cardinals teammates Mike Matheny and Woody Williams. Players from the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers, in town for a three-game series, also were to participate.

''I'm sure it'll be something special,'' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. ''There's no teammate that's not important, but he had a special importance because he was involved with everyone.

''He was involved with everything and everyone.''

Kile's wife due contract
Darryl Kile's wife will receive the rest of his guaranteed contract, which was reportedly worth $8 million a year and runs through 2003.

In addition to his contract, his wife Flynn will benefit from the $300,000 life insurance policy included in his benefits. She will also be receiving full pension benefits beginning next month for the rest of her life. The pension benefits are $160,000 annually, according to a Major League Baseball Players Association official.
-- Darren Rovell,

Team personnel will wear a small black, circular patch with Kile's initials and his uniform number, ''DK57,'' on their left sleeve. They were already wearing a patch to commemorate the death of longtime broadcaster Jack Buck, who died last Tuesday, on their right sleeve.

Larger versions of the patches were placed on the right-field wall and behind home plate.

''It's nice,'' said reliever Dave Veres, a close friend who also played with Kile in Houston and Colorado. ''I'd rather not have to see it.

''In time I guess it's going to get easier to deal with, but you're never going to forget or get over it.''

At the makeshift memorial to Kile outside Busch Stadium that rivaled the one for Buck last week, mostly homemade tributes piled up. One fan left a sign: ''God needed a pitcher on his team in heaven, and he sure got a good one.''

Teammates kept Kile's memory alive by hanging two of his jerseys from his locker stall. Kile's batting helmet, several warmup jerseys and even mail remained in the stall. A plaque given in his memory by the St. Louis chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America lay on his chair.

The team is holding off making a move to fill Kile's roster spot until after the memorial service. On Tuesday, they promoted right-hander Jimmy Journell, one of the potential candidates, from Double-A New Haven to Triple-A Memphis.

''We haven't made a decision yet and there's no need to add anybody at this time,'' general manager Walt Jocketty said. ''We can stay at 24 players all year if we want.''

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