Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Great Story for Cards

There has not been much to cheer about if your a St. Louis Cardinals fan. The World Series champs are having a horrible season. There have been many bad stories coming from the Cards to talk about lately. There has has been manager Tony La Russa, being charged with drunk driving, Scott Spiezio dealing with drug problems, and pitcher John Hancock died in a car crash while he was drunk. So it was good to hear an uplifting story come out of the Cards organization.
Rick Ankiel hit two home runs last night, had 3 RBIs, and scored 3 runs in the Cards 6-1 win over the Dodgers. He has 3 homers in 3 days. He also made a great over-the-shoulder catch in last night's game. No one could have imagined that 7 years ago when Ankiel was a rookie. Ankiel was a promising pitching prospect and had won 11 games that year. In the first game of the divisional series for the Cardinals, La Russa decided to started Ankiel against the Atlanta Braves. In the the third inning of that game, Ankiel threw 5 wild pitches. That is the most in one inning since 1890. He was taken out after 2 2/3 innings. Ankiel started again in the post-season but still could not find the zone.
Ankiel had Tommy John surgery in 2003. He still had control problems after even after the surgery. He thought about leaving the game for good. The Cardinals organization convinced him to continue playing. For a pitcher he was a decent hitter and had some pop in his bat, so he was convinced to come back and play outfield. He hit 32 homers in triple A and the Cardinals gave him a shot.
I think that is a very remarkable comeback. It sort of reminds you of Babe Ruth, even though he didn't have to have a major surgery to convert to an everyday player. Hopefully, for Cards fans, this heroic comeback can fuel the Cardinal's own comeback.
It is very rare in this day and age for a baseball player to switch from a pitcher to a hitter. It is hard to come by a great story in this era, the steroid era.

No comments:

Post a Comment