Former Cardinals P/OF Rick Ankiel announces retirement

Posted by Scott Wuerz on March 5, 2014 

Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher turned outfielder Rick Ankiel has decided to retire after finding no team interested in signing him as a position player.

The announcement was made on Fox Sports Midwest Wednesday during the broadcast of the game between the Redbirds and the Boston Red Sox.

There is no word if any clubs were interested in trying to help Ankiel revive his career as a dynamic lefty pitcher. And it apparently wouldn't matter if they were because Ankiel said through his agent, Scott Boras, that he has no interest in returning to the mound.

Ankiel was electrifying in 2000 when he burst onto the Cardinals roster as a rookie and won 11 games with a 137 hits allowed and 194 strikeouts in 175 innings of work. But, in four years as a mound man, Ankiel totaled only 13 victories against 10 losses with a 3.90 ERA. It was harrowing to watch him work in 2001 and beyond because you could never tell when the wheels were going to fall off and his control would abandon him.

By 2005 Ankiel had been through enough. He decided to walk away from pitching and that he would try to recast himself as a slugging outfielder. It was nearly laughable to think he could accomplish such a Ruthian feat. But Ankiel legitimately worked his way up through the minors and found himself back in St. Louis as an outfielder in 2007.

Like with his pitching career, Ankiel's first year as a hitter was his best.

He homered twice in his debut in route to a .285 season with 11 home runs hit in 47 games.

But Ankiel, who didn't have the benefit of thousands of at-bats he might have had in the minors if he had started his career as an outfielder, seemed to become more and more exploitable as his hitting career went on. The strike outs began to pile up while his batting average began to sink.

From 2010-13 Ankiel bounced from the Kansas City Royals to the Atlanta Braves to the Washington Nationals to the New York Mets to the Houston Astros. He batted .228 with 27 homers and 97 RBIs while striking out 286 times in 877 at bats.

The latest word is that Ankiel is hoping to stay in baseball by finding a front office job.

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