Porter's death new blow to Cards

Body of All-Star catcher, 50, found in suburban park

Baseball

August 07, 2002|By ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

ST. LOUIS - First, during spring training, it was longtime St. Louis Cardinals vice president Jim Toomey. Then, in June, legendary broadcaster Jack Buck and, shockingly, four days later, pitcher Darryl Kile. Then came stunning word late Monday night and early yesterday morning that former Cardinals catcher Darrell Porter, the Most Valuable Player of the 1982 National League Championship Series and World Series, had been the latest Cardinal to die.

Porter, who was 50, was found next to his car Monday night by a motorist at La Benite Park in Sugar Creek, Mo., a Kansas City suburb. Sugar Creek police chief Herb Soule said that foul play was not involved and that it appeared Porter had died after trying to move his stuck automobile.

"This has not been a very good year for the Cardinal family," said retired pitcher Bob Forsch, a teammate of Porter's on the Cardinals' last world championship club in 1982.

An autopsy report by the Jackson County (Mo.) medical examiner showed no signs of a heart attack nor any signs of drugs or alcohol, according to the Kansas City Star. A toxicology report won't be released for two weeks.

Porter's car went off the right side of the road, and it got caught on a tree stump that wasn't readily visible, Soule told the Associated Press. "I'm sure he was trying to push [the car] off and I'm sure the high temperatures got to him," said Soule.

Soule said Porter's wife, Deanne, had said Porter had gone out to get a newspaper and was going to read it in the park.

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