Rick Ankiel To Retire

One of the most fascinating ballplayers of his generation, Rick Ankiel, has officially retired, Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin announced on the air today (story via MLB.com's AJ Cassavell). Ankiel is hoping to stay in the game by catching on in a front office.

Ankiel is a 34-year-old, power-hitting, free-agent outfielder who was cut loose by two different clubs last year. That seemed an unlikely ending when he cracked the league at age 19 as a big-armed pitcher, announcing himself with a 3.27 ERA in 33 innings for the Cardinals. He followed that up with an outstanding rookie year, throwing 175 innings of 3.50 ERA ball, notching 10.0 K/9 against 4.6 BB/9.

Then, of course, came Ankiel's sudden and stunning meltdown on the mound during the 2000 postseason. He never recovered to regain his former promise, and seemed destined to fade into obscurity.

Things took a second, almost equally startling turn when Ankiel re-emerged as an outfielder. Returning to the bigs in August of 2007, Ankiel swatted a home run in his debut and never looked back. He ultimately logged 2,019 plate appearances, notching 74 home runs and compiling a .242/.304/.427 line. And, of course, he put his powerful arm to good use, unleashing a number of memorable throws that cut down baserunners looking to stretch an extra base.

Though he was reportedly still interested in playing as recently as February, Ankiel had not received any interest at that point. He apparently decided to hang up his spikes now, rather than waiting for another opportunity.

After his time in St. Louis, Ankiel roamed the outfield for several clubs, starting with the Royals and Braves. He played for two seasons with the Nationals before finishing his career in 2013 with the Astros and Mets. Ankiel's overall stat line does not stand out, at least until one notices that it encapsulates two separate careers. Ultimately, his remarkable story, hard-nosed play, and incredible arm ensure that he'll long be remembered as a ballplayer.


Leave a Reply

40 Comments on "Rick Ankiel To Retire"


Hills of Glenallen
1 year 5 months ago

The end of this article is a mess, no?

GrilledCheese39
1 year 5 months ago

Yes, I couldn’t follow it at all.

TorturedMetsFan
1 year 5 months ago

Best of luck to Rick, always enjoyed watching him throw out guys from the center field warning track

Ivan
1 year 5 months ago

The only player, besides Babe Ruth, to win 10+ games as a pitcher and hit 25+ homers.

harperhill
1 year 5 months ago

To clarify, that’s 10+ Wins / 25+ HR in single seasons, not all-time.

JoshReddicksWalkupSong
1 year 5 months ago

Really?

harperhill
1 year 5 months ago

Yeah, but different seasons — Ankiel had 11 wins in 2000 and 25 dingers in ’08. For the record, in 1918 Ruth had 13 Wins and 11 homers and in ’19 he had 9 wins and 29 HR. One win away from achieving this feat in the same season! Pretty sick.

Ivan
1 year 5 months ago

Yup, that’s what I meant.

BK
1 year 5 months ago

it sounds silly but his playoff breakdown was the first time a young me truly understood that the human brain is dictated by forces outside of logic. it also was one of the first times I felt a true tinge of adult empathy.

TheGhostOfTonyBatista
1 year 5 months ago

Yes indeed. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. How could a guy who had won pretty much every pitching award at every level he’s pitched and had a fine MLB rookie season, and was healthy on top of that, miss home plate not by a few inches but by 4-5 feet? It was kind of like Mitch Williams’ collapse after 1993 but even worse.

TheGhostOfTonyBatista
1 year 5 months ago

Yes indeed. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. How could a guy who had won pretty much every pitching award at every level he’s pitched and had a fine MLB rookie season, and was healthy on top of that, miss home plate not by a few inches but by 4-5 feet? It was kind of like Mitch Williams’ collapse after 1993 but even worse.

NYBravosFan10
1 year 5 months ago

I’ll never forget that blast in the 2010 playoffs

Paclypse71
1 year 5 months ago

Yeah, too bad Brooks “Buckner” Conrad negated his heroics in the next game.

Kevin Sheets
1 year 5 months ago

And Brooks Conrad hit many clutch hits for the Braves. Injuries forced the Braves to use him in the field when they knew he couldnt field too well.

Kevin Sheets
1 year 5 months ago

Yea i never forgot how odd it was who the heros of that game were. Glaus, whom faded as the season progressed, Farnsworth, and Ankiel….who would have thought!

Amorak
1 year 5 months ago

I really admire this guy. Have for a long time. What a great planet this would be if everybody kept their dreams alive like Rick Ankiel has done. Go in peace, Rick, and I wish you the very best in all that you do.

Cole Hoppmann
1 year 5 months ago

I will always remember him for throwing out 2 guys from the rockies with out a bounce straight to 3rd base and for diving for balls in center field and his arm as well and for pitching wild for the memphis redbirds against the nashville sounds as well

Pawsdeep
1 year 5 months ago

Very fun career to watch. Sad to see him go.
Him gunning down Tuiuasosopo at home in the 11th to keep a game tied was one of the greatest throws ever.

tenncub
1 year 5 months ago

I saw him play as a AAA CF and was amazed at his ability to throw strikes to home plate from deep CF when he had so much trouble throwing those same strikes from 60′ 6″ only a couple of years earlier. Man what an arm!

Jeffy25
1 year 5 months ago

Pitch rick, please pitch

Revery
1 year 5 months ago

Congrats to Rick for a career that will demonstrate the qualities of perseverance for years to come.

Guest
1 year 5 months ago

hears to a great career rick! as both a pitcher and a regular outfielder in the bigs you deserve rewarding to a job well done. this is even better news for us baseball fans considering all we have to do now is wait until a rick ankiel movie preps itself to make an arrival onto the big screen. aside from that, bravo mr. ankiel! you proved a lot of people wrong in your career by making the switch, and that truly speaks volumes in the very scrutinizing league today we call the MLB.

connfyoozed .
1 year 5 months ago

If you like baseball, how can you not respect and admire Rick Ankiel’s career?

Kevin Bishopp
1 year 5 months ago

His connections to HGH?

connfyoozed .
1 year 5 months ago

I don’t approve of using it either… but he was investigated, and the time he was supposedly using it occurred before MLB banned it in 2005 (it was allegedly while he was trying to resurrect his pitching career in the minors). I understand and appreciate your point though, Kevin, and frankly I didn’t think of that when I wrote my comment. I do respect the fact that he managed to forge a second career without using illegal stuff.

bobbie922
1 year 5 months ago

I remember watching his first game back in the bigs as an outfielder, and man, when he hit that home run it was something special. Gonna miss watching Rick gun guys out at the plate from the warning track in dead center (okay maybe I’m exaggerating, but the guy had a cannon!).

agureghian
1 year 5 months ago

Few baseball players make it to the majors at all. This guy did it as a pitcher and a outfielder. Have a good retirement, Rick!

BradyAnderson
1 year 5 months ago

You know how there are guys when they are pitching, or stepping up to the plate, that you kind of zone out and cant remember a thing about it…Rick Ankiel wasnt that guy. A player that just made being a fan, fun.

Shame his electricity will no longer be in real-time.

Obama
1 year 5 months ago

If you look at his stats prior to the Event it was pretty obvious that he had control issues and would not work them out. But in the end narrative triumphs over all.

Daniel Morairity
1 year 5 months ago

Rick ankiel was one one of the best pitchers before he turn into an outfielder and his batting average was actually pretty goo averaging a 2.99

Cartolo Bolon
1 year 5 months ago

I was hoping he’d pitch again later in his career, maybe at the end of a blowout or something.

Cartolo Bolon
1 year 5 months ago

I was hoping he’d pitch again later in his career, maybe at the end of a blowout or something.