Rick came up to the Cardinals as a 19 year old left handed pitcher. The report on Ankiel before he stepped onto the field at Busch Stadium was that he had the potential to be a great pitcher. He had a fastball that ranged from the middle to the upper nineties. His curveball was real nasty and he could make veteran hitters knees buckle!
What ended up changing his career was the post season of 2000 against the Braves and the Mets. Here he is a twenty year old rookie that lost control and couldn’t find home plate. As a baseball fan, it was really hard to watch a player self destruct.
Rick could not come back and find the success that baseball people anticipated. He was wild and could not get the ball over the plate. Ankiel went to the Cardinal Brass and said he was going to retire. The management mentioned to Rick that they would give him a shot as a position player, and Rick decided to give it a shot.
Ankiel went to the minor leagues and found out he could play the game as a position player. He was a good hitter and had a cannon for an arm from the outfield.
In 2008 Ankiel played in 120 games and managed to hit 25 home runs! He looked good as a hitter and his defense was exceptional!
The success was short term and Rick started to flounder in 2009. The pitchers had found holes in his swing. He then played for several organizations and was very solid on defense but had a lot of problems hitting. I saw Rick play against the Cardinals this year and saw his flaws. It was obvious, but that is another story. He is now unemployed and his career may be over. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/a/ankieri01.shtml
The purpose of this article is to urge Rick Ankiel to start working on a return to the mound, and prepare for next year! Rick is only 34 years old and has a bazooka for an arm. I am sure he still has his nasty curve!
Rick, I urge you to go to the mound and give pitching another shot! Can you imagine the feeling; Rick would have if we can show him that thousands of baseball fans want to see him back on the hill and dominate hitters like we all know he can!
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