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Wednesday, October 23
Updated: October 24, 11:31 AM ET
Hall of Fame waives five-year wait for Kile

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Darryl Kile, the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher who died of heart disease this summer, will be on the 2003 Hall of Fame ballot.

The 33-year-old Kile, who was found dead in his Chicago hotel room on June 22, will become only the third player to appear on the ballot before the customary five-year waiting period. Roberto Clemente and Thurman Munson were the others.

``In the rare circumstance where a player passes away during the course of his career, and has played in at least 10 seasons, the normal five-year waiting period is waived and reduced to six months,'' said Jeff Idelson, a vice president of the Hall of Fame.

Clemente, a star outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, died on Dec. 31, 1972, when his plane carrying relief supplies crashed on the way to Nicaragua. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973, less than three months after his death.

Munson, the New York Yankees' captain, died when a plane he was piloting crashed on Aug. 2, 1979, in Ohio. He was placed on the Hall of Fame ballot in 1981, got 63 votes but hasn't been elected.

Ballots will be distributed to Baseball Writers Association of America members in November. Eddie Murray, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith and Fernando Valenzuela are some of the other players eligible for the first time in 2003. Voting results will be announced in January.

Kile pitched for more than 11 years in the majors, going 133-119 with a 4.12 ERA. He had 1,668 strikeouts, 28 complete games and nine shutouts. The right-hander never missed a start and was never on the disabled list.

A 20-game winner for the Cardinals in 2000, Kile twice finished fifth in NL Cy Young voting. He had his best season in 1997 with the Houston Astros, going 19-7 with a 2.57 ERA, 205 strikeouts and four shutouts. He also threw a no-hitter for Houston in 1993 against the New York Mets.

Kile was 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA this season before his death stunned the Cardinals, who played on with plenty of tributes to their late teammate. They reached the NL championship series before being eliminated by the San Francisco Giants.

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