According to Scott Boras, this day in 2005 marked the official unveiling of the second Babe Ruth.
We are speaking of course of Rick Ankiel, the former Cardinals pitcher who, after a very public meltdown on the mound in the 2000 playoffs, made the unlikely transition to becoming a Major League outfielder.
On March 10, 2005, Ankiel made his debut in spring training as a position player and went 1-2 singling off Brad Thompson in an inter-squad game. While Ankiel’s switch to position player at first seemed like nothing more than a pet project to keep Tony LaRussa from getting bored during spring training, it actually led to Ankiel working his way through the minor league system and eventually debuting with the Cardinals in August of 2007. He even went yard in his first game.
During preparation for his first arbitration hearing, his agent Scott Boras – never one to exaggerate – went ahead and compared him to arguably the best baseball player of all time in Babe Ruth, since both were former pitchers turned sluggers. Three years into his odyssey, it’s probably a safe bet to say that Rick isn’t going to have the upside that the Babe did.
Plus he plays for the Royals now which sort of guarantees that he’ll suck this year…