It occurred to me that I hadn't said anything yet on the 10th anniversary of the deaths of Jack Buck and Daryl Kile. That week in mid-June of 2002 may have been the darkest in the history of Cardinal nation.

The long-time Cardinal broadcaster Jack Buck hadn't been well for some time, suffering from Parkinson's, vertigo and diabetes, then was diagnosed with lung cancer the previous December. I knew things weren't good when I heard an interview with Jack's son, Joe, about a month before. Joe was asked how Jack was doing, and all Joe said was, "He's hangin' in there."

I'd always considered Jack Buck a professional hero of mine and had met him a couple of times. To say I was saddened by his death would be very much an understatement. In my opinion, Jack Buck was the greatest play-by-play man who ever lived.

Jack died on Monday night, and we were just getting over that when the news came on Saturday that Cardinal pitcher Daryl Kile had been found dead in his hotel room in Chicago. I'll never forget the emotional announcement by the Cubs' Joe Girardi to the crowd at Wrigley Field that the Cubs-Cards game that day was canceled because of, "a loss in the Cardinal family."

Tony LaRussa received a lot of accolades over the years for his managerial skills, but the fact that he was able to keep the Cardinals from completely falling apart after all that tragedy may have been his greatest accomplishment.