Saturday, August 11th, 2007...3:59 pm

Comeback Player of A Lifetime

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My friend Brett sent me a great email yesterday. I’m not sure how he comes up with such eloquent analysis but he does. Check out his Lebron email. When I heard Rick Ankiel hit a homer in his return to the major I thought it was a cute story. Like many people, I kind of forgot about Ankiel because his demise as a pitcher was just too tragic and disappointing. Add to that the bizarre Caribbean drug ring led by his father and brother and his story is just too weird. But Da Bwetty gives it the proper respect the story deserves.

Wherever you are stand up and applaud Rick Ankiel. For some reason his playoff collapse is one of the clearest sports memories I have…I remember sitting on the couch with you in bagel and you screaming “holy shit, holy shit, he’s done..this is crazy…i don’t think he’ll ever pitch again”… Over the years people have thrown around the term the Natural to players like Shane Spencer and tons of others but Ankiel’s story mirrors that of Roy Hobbs more then any I can recall. A prized pitching prospect loses his way-a sad collapse on a huge stage, forgotten, picks up a bat and “works” his way through the minors converting himself into a power hitting OF, first game back in the majors hits a 3-run homer and makes fans remember and smile. Its amazing to me when one guy can break the most storied record in sports and its met with such discontent but another guy hits a single home run and brings his manager to tears. Check Bonds’ bat for corking, check Ankiel’s for a lightning bolt. This why I love sports. Litty, I root for Ankiel.

  • Quotable pt. 1: “Short of winning the World Series, it’s the happiest I’ve seen our club. I’m fighting my butt off to keep it together. Next to striking out [Brandon Inge to win the World Series], that’s the happiest I’ve been in this uniform.” — Cards manager Tony La Russa, on Ankiel
  • Quotable pt. 2: “I guess Babe Ruth was the last. It’s quite a show of athleticism and quite a show of being a baseball player. It’s a great story.” — Padres manager Bud Black, on pitchers converting into power-hitting outfielders

    Here is a video of the home run