One of the more interesting careers of my generation has come to a close. Rick Ankiel, a pitcher converted to outfielder, announced his retirement from major league baseball yesterday.
If you were hoping to see a pinch hit three run home run on Opening Day, do not make any bets on Rick Ankiel. Or maybe you remember the laser that he threw from right field to gun down a runner at third base for a double play. And if you have a time capsule to the days where he was a highly touted starting pitcher prospect, you may remember his sudden implosion while pitching in the postseason. Rick was never able to regain his form and eventually converted to an outfielder.
Ankiel was able to impress at first. But then the failures starting piling up, again. Even though he made some spectacular plays throughout the last few years, nothing was consistent enough to keep him in one place. He retires after playing for 11 years professionally. After the majority of his career was with the St. Louis Cardinals, Ankiel found some work for five other teams, including the Houston Astros.
In the end Ankiel will be remembered as a promising rookie pitcher who lost his control. He worked hard to stay in professional baseball as an outfielder. Yesterday a new chapter of his life began when he announced his retirement. Though neither of his stat lines are overwhelming, his persistence is one thing that people should respect. Rick will be back soon in a new role. He has fought back when baseball tried to kick him out. But I think everyone knows he won’t stay away from the game. He’s 33 years old and has the rest of his life ahead of him. I would be shocked if he doesn’t fulfill his desires to become a coach.