In the three years after he was drafted in 1997, Baseball America ranked Rick Ankiel as the 18th best, second best and best prospect in baseball. He was an outstanding pitcher and he finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting after he went 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA as a 20-year old in 2000.
Then, the 2000 NLDS rolled around. Rick Ankiel was struggling with the pressure of starting Game 1, so Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had Daryl Kile talk to the media about Game 1 before he made the official announcement that Ankiel would start the game.
From there, Ankiel's career as a pitcher began to unfold. In one inning, Ankiel walked four batters and threw five wild pitches. The five wild pitches in one inning tied an MLB record. The Cardinals won that game and would go on to win the series.
Ankiel would get another chance to start in the playoffs. In the NLCS against the New York Mets, he threw five pitches past his catcher, although only two counted as wild pitches.
He was pulled after just 20 pitches. Ankiel went back out to the mound in relief during Game 5 and things still did not work out. He only faced four batters but he walked two and threw two more wild pitches.
The Cardinals gave Ankiel a chance in the majors in 2001 but he struggled again. He was eventually demoted all the way down to Rookie Ball. While he was no longer a major league caliber pitcher, Ankiel managed to work his way back up to the majors as an outfielder.