Wainwright's Kile Award: A Good News Story

Adam Wainwright has won the 2008 Darryl Kile Award, but unfortunately, very few know about it - what the award stands for and why the pitcher took it.

In this time when negativism seems so rampant and the very fabric of the Cardinal Nation becoming unraveled around the edges over financial squabbles, even the rare piece of inarguable good news is often either ignored, considered irrelevant to those seeking fresh blood to spill or at best, pushed to the footnotes.


If that is your thing, stop reading this and move along to chasing the next ambulance that leaves the barn.


Though both the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Belleville News-Democrat reported on the happenings at Monday's annual St. Louis Baseball Writers' Association of America Dinner, scant notice was given to one of the few new awards announced at the banquet that evening.


Ample ink was rightly spilled over Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols and Gold Glove Award winner Yadier Molina, for example. Yet the first-time announcement of the 2008 Darryl Kile Award selection, pitcher Adam Wainwright (right), was barely mentioned in the papers' summaries of the evening. (Edit: MLB.com's recap of the evening did not include the Kile Award.)


Now don't get me wrong. I am not being critical of the papers themselves or the Baseball Writers as a group. After all, the Kile Award would not exist if not for the local BBWAA members. To their benefit, the winner is selected by Cardinals players, not the press.


The Award was first announced in January, 2003, but not given out the first year to memorialize the late pitcher for which the recognition is named. The criteria include Kile's qualities of being "a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man," words that certainly characterize the 27-year-old, the youngest Kile Award winner to date.


Kile took great pride in never missing a start in 331 major league outings and in never spending a day on the major league disabled list in 12 years. The right-handed pitcher passed away in his sleep due to coronary disease on June 22, 2002, leaving an adoring wife, two small children, legions of fans and a grieving Cardinals organization.


I am told the Post's Derrick Goold made a fine presentation, including kudos sent along by now-former Cardinal Russ Springer. Wainwright clearly was moved by the weight of the recognition his peers bestowed upon him. According to the BND, the pitcher "nearly teared up" when accepting the award.


"If I ever win the Cy Young or MVP awards, I'll cherish this more," Wainwright said.

Now there's a good story that deserves a headline or two and I, for one, am more than happy to oblige. Congratulations to Adam and all the past winners of this most prestigious honor.



St. Louis Cardinals Darryl Kile Award Winners


2002: Not awarded in honor of Darryl Kile (right)

2003: Mike Matheny

2004: Woody Williams

2005: Cal Eldred

2006: Chris Carpenter

2007: Russ Springer

2008: Adam Wainwright



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com.


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