Rick Ankiel officially announced his retirement Wednesday via St. Louis broadcaster Dan McLaughlin who made the announcement during the St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training Broadcast. This brings to an end the career of a very unique and intriguing ballplayer.
Drafted straight out of high school in 1997 by the Cardinals, Ankiel made his major league debut as a pitcher in 1999 at the age of 20. In 2000 he was rated at the number one overall prospect in baseball by Baseball America. After having a good regular season Ankiel faltered in the playoffs. He completely lost control of his pitches. He had two very poor starts, one in the NLCS against the Braves and the other in the NLCS against the Mets. He lasted no more than three innings in each start.
Ankiel continued to struggle in 2001 and was soon sent to the minors. Shortly after he had Tommy John surgery and besides on appearance pitching in relief for the Cardinals in 2004, it looked as though his career was at its end.
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