What a classic baseball story!
In 2005 Rick Ankiel threw in the towels as a major league pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals when he developed control problems. In 2000 he three five wild pitchers in one game and was never quite the same since then.
To his credit Ankiel, who didn't pitch in the MLB in the 2003 and 2004 seasons but worked his way back to St. Louis in 2005 where he pitched in five games with a 1-0 record in ten innings spread over five games. His ERA approached 6. At this point Ankiel announced he had pitched his last game. Ankiel decided to become a position player and restarted his career in the lower minor leagues.
Despite his control struggles he has a winning record as a pitcher with 13-10 and a 3.90 ERA. This is better than a lot of pitchers currently in the MLB.
So far in 2007 Ankiel had 32 home runs and 89 RBIs in 102 at AAA Memphis Redbirds. On Thursday, August 10, Ankiel capped his re-debut with a three run homer off of of San Diego Padres pitcher Doug Brocail in his first start in the majors as a non-pitcher. When Ankiel first came to the plate he was greeted with a standing ovation.
The only thing that could have made the story any better would have been a walk-off home run in extra innings.
This kind of story is one of the reasons I watch baseball. Congratulations to Ankiel and the St. Louis Cardinals for supporting him in his efforts.
Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!