This is a brief tale about a Cardinal. For those of you who are not aware of the story here's a quick synopsis:
Rick Ankeil (Ankiel ?) was the
young stud pitching prospect in the St Louis Cardinals organization. He was expected to not merely dominate but perhaps become the second coming
of, if not Sandy Koufax then at least Steve Carlton (a Cardinals product from many tears ago). Rick's performances bear out these expectations; he was superb. The accolades were not been excessive and it appears that he will actually be one of the next generations truely superior pitchers.
As a Cub fan I am disgusted.
Ankeil self destructs. Something happens mentally. For reasons not known much less understood he completely loses it; he can not throw a pitch over the plate for a strike if his life depended on it (a tad helping of exageration here). He throws pitches against the back stop. Into the stands.
He has completely lost it and cannot get it back. As a Cub fan I am completely relieved - the Cardinals do not deserve a pitcher as good as he was becoming.
Ankeil retires as a pitcher but announces that he would like to continue to try to return to the Majors as an outfielder; the Cardinals, graciously (sp ?) or wisely agree to let him try. He is quite an athlete.
Some 3 years later he's back
... ! He actually made it back to the Majors after switching positions and in his first Major League game (non-pitcher) he hits a game winning 3R homer:
Tony LaRooster cries.
All I can say is: congratulations young (27) Mr Ankeil.
And My God
am I glad he is not pitching
for them anymore.