A big change has come to the St. Louis Cardinals or I suppose it would be more accurate to say “is leaving” the St. Louis Cardinals, but either way, Rick Ankiel will be playing on the other side of the state come baseball spring.
A moment of silence as we prepare to send Ricky on to Royal blue pastures.
I know not everyone loved him, but I think everyone would have to agree that he’s been a big part of the Cardinals organization for the last decade.
The eternal comeback kid, Ankiel started his Cardinal career as a pitcher and ended it as an outfielder.
His story on and off the field is the stuff that inspirational Disney movies are made of. For anyone who doesn’t know the full Ankiel story, you can check out the articles at the bottom, but I’ll give you an abbreviated version here.
Back in 2000 Ankiel joined the Cardinals as a rookie pitcher. He was billed as one of the best new pitchers. After a strong start, Ankiel had a meltdown during post season play (lots of wild pitches). Ultimately he was sent down to the minor leagues.
In 2007 he rejoined the Cardinals as an outfielder. During his 2nd major league debut he hit a three run homer and fast became a fan favorite again.
To call Ankiel a beloved Cardinal would be over-simplifying his relationship with St. Louis baseball fans. I can’t speak for everyone (but I’m going to try).
I think what made him so intriguing was that he kept fighting his way back. It was hard to ever count him out entirely. We never knew when he was going to surprise us.
However in baseball consistency is the name of the game, so maybe this didn’t make him the greatest player of all time, but it did make the game a little more exciting (for better or worse).
So goodbye and good luck Ricky. It’s been an exciting 10 years.
The Story compliments of the Post-Dispatch
good times and America’s favorite pastime: