Darryl Kile’s untimely death cut short a career that showed both brilliance and grit in its time. In the collective imagination, Kile is remembered in part for resurrecting his career in St. Louis after two disastrous seasons in Colorado. This narrative is only partly accurate though, in that Kile wasn’t as bad in Colorado as he’s remembered.
No, the results weren’t pretty, but Kile actually had a positive WAR in both of his seasons in Denver. Sure, he led the league in losses in 1998 and in earned runs in 1999, but he also threw 421 innings across 67 starts in pre-humidor Coors Field.
By today’s standards, those numbers are almost heroic, considering the beating his arm must have taken as a curveball specialist in pre-humidor Coors Field. Still though, Kile was making the big bucks, by ’90s standards. His $24M over three years made him one of the highest-paid pitchers in the game – and three WAR in two seasons hardly seemed to justify the investment for the mid-market Rockies.
Kile was traded to the Cardinals where he pitched 232.1 innings with a 3.91 ERA, winning 20 games and making the All-Star game. Kile was a warrior during his time with the Rockies, but he never had the results with Colorado that he did elsewhere.