Blass on Ankiel

In the middle of this article from the, there\’s a nice little story:

Pittsburgh Pirates broadcaster Steve Blass once won 19 games in the majors, but he is known more for what took him out of the majors. Suddenly and inexplicably he couldn’t throw a strike. So it was with profound empathy and amazement that Blass called Rick Ankiel’s 20th home run Friday night.

\”It’s stunning,\” Blass said about Ankiel, the pitcher-turned-slugger. \”No one can appreciate what he has done, how he’s come and what he has accomplished like I can. … I can tell you chapter and verse about what happens to you emotionally when you go through what he did and what I did. To hold it together and come out on the other side like he has is tremendous, just tremendous.\”

The Wades and I have chatted about this a bit privately, and I think Ankiel\’s story is maybe the most under-rated of the year. I think probably because we\’ve never really seen anything like it since Babe Ruth. I\’m certainly not calling Ankiel the Sultan of anything, I\’m just saying that it\’s really a tremendous story to be able to be a proficient major leaguer at both pitching and hitting, and especially with the adversity that Ankiel had to face along the way. Impressive stuff, as Mr. Blass would know.







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