Rick Ankiel — Lotus Ball Speaker
Rick Ankiel and the Safe Connections’ Connection
Rick grew up in an abusive household, held together by a loving mother who did her best for her two sons. Touching on those childhood experiences, Rick released a memoir this April entitled, The Phenomenon. This title evokes both his status years ago as a leading Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher barely out of high school and the sudden onset of a debilitating anxiety condition while pitching for the Cardinals that forever altered the course of his life. The book shares pieces from the first two decades of his life growing up with a violent, unpredictable father and a mother who bore the brunt of his dad’s domestic abuse. Rick recounts his professional baseball years, focusing on his epic internal struggles to live a good life while trying to come to terms with his health, his guilt and his idea of what a successful, fulfilling life might be. Rick has made a life he is proud of, happily married and actively parenting two young sons.
“I was a Royal, a Brave, a National, an Astro and a Met. I was a Cardinal in my soul, where it mattered. I still felt special in St. Louis and in that ballpark, because both had accepted me in sickness and in health, and those kinds of bonds stay bonds forever.”—Rick Ankiel as quoted in his book regarding his feelings after his retirement in 2013
Rick Ankiel’s Career
Rick Ankiel is currently an MLB Analyst at FOX Sports Midwest. Prior to joining FOX, Rick served as the Life Skills Coordinator for the Washington Nationals.
Rick made his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals at age 20 in 1999 and emerged as one of the league’s best pitchers the next season. After pitching control problems and an elbow injury limited him to just 11 appearances from 2001-2004, he returned to the minors to play the outfield. In 2007, he re-emerged in the majors as a Cardinals outfielder. After leaving the Cardinals in 2009, Rick made stops playing for the Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Houston Astros, and the New York Mets before retiring in 2013.
Rick became the first player since Babe Ruth to have won at least 10 games as a pitcher and also hit at least 50 home runs. He is also the only player other than Ruth to both start a postseason game as a pitcher and hit a home run in the postseason as a position player.