2010 Topps National Chicle #152 Rick Ankiel (Royals)
I was a little too young to remember pitcher Rick Ankiel bursting onto the baseball scene in 2000, coming just short of winning the NL Rookie of the Year award that year.
Unfortunately, he absolutely flamed out in '01, posting an awful 7.13 ERA in just six starts. He just flat-out lost his control.
He was sent to the minors soon after.
I remember hearing rumblings of him attempting to make a comeback as a hitter around 2005 or so. I never thought he'd actually make it, though.
I vividly remember the night Ankiel made his debut as a major-league outfielder. Seeing him hit a three-run homer in his first game back on the highlights that night was something else.
It really is amazing when you stop and think about it. He went from a once top-pitching prospect to a big-league outfielder in about two years.
He hit 25 homers in 2008 for the Cardinals.
Ever since his comeback, Ankiel has been a decent backup outfielder for a few teams. He doesn't hit for a high average, but he's a nice power source to have off the bench.
He hit a speed bump in 2010, hitting just .232 with six homers.
The Royals signed him as a free agent in January of 2010, but he lasted just 27 games in Kansas City before being dealt to the Braves.
This 2010 National Chicle base card of Ankiel is among my favorite in the entire set. I love the colorful background. The in-action shot is also a plus. But most of all, I like that fact that it's a card of Ankiel that says "outfielder" on the back.
The tale of Rick Ankiel is easily one of the more fascinating baseball stories of my lifetime.