Former Cardinal Rick Ankiel Talks Redemption (And The 'Yips') In New Book
ST. LOUIS —
Rick Ankiel reached Major League Baseball with a once in a generation ability that was lost in an instant, but not to injury. Ankiel says a mysterious condition of anxiety known as the "yips" nearly caused his baseball career to end suddenly. He talked to The Allman Report about it, which he writes about in his book, "The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life".
Ankiel played for the St. Louis Cardinals with Mike Matheny (before Matheny became a major league manager) years ago. Ankiel is not as well known as some of his former teammates like Mark McGwire, Matheny, and Jim Edmonds, but he has the honor of sharing one baseball stat with the game's greatest player.
Ankiel and Babe Ruth are the only two major league players to win 10 games as a pitcher and hit at least 50 home runs. Ankiel was a pitcher for a couple of years before switching to outfield.
While he was a pitcher, he had one disastrous game in the 2000 National League Championship Series that nearly ended his career. Ankiel started Game 2 strong, but suddenly deteriorated in the third, eventually throwing five wild pitches. While the Cardinals recovered to win the game, Ankiel's pitching career did not. He eventually found himself back in the minor leagues, where he made the switch to outfield, eventually returning to the Cardinals to play in Busch Stadium once again.