With the news yesterday that Rick Ankiel is retiring, it is time to honor one of the Chiefs players from the 25th Anniversary team named in 2007. In 1998 (As an 18 year old!!), Ankiel made his pro debut as Peoria’s opening day starter at Kane County. He made seven starts going 3-0 with a 2.06 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 12 walks in 35 innings before a May promotion to High-A Prince William. Two seasons later he was finishing 2nd to Rafael Furcal in the NL Rookie of the Year voting and starting the Cardinals first playoff game. And while 1998 would not be Rick’s last interaction in Peoria, those seven starts were brilliant, here are the highlights:
- Opening Day starter April 10, 1998 at Kane County. 8-3 Chiefs Win. 5ip, 5h, 0r, 2bb, 6k WIN
- May 1 vs. Quad Cities: 7-1 Chiefs win: 6ip, 0h, 0r, 2bb, 7k WIN. 2:08 gametime
- May 6 at Fort Wayne 4-3 Chiefs loss: 6.2ip, 0h, 0r, 1bb, 10k. Retired first 11 with 4k.
- May 11 at Lansing, 7-1 Chiefs win: 7ip, 2h, 1r, 5bb, 4k, WIN. Single by Lansing’s Juan Brito in 3rd ended Ankiel’s hitless streak at 17.2 innings. Chiefs ended a 7-game losing streak.
- May 17 vs. West Michigan, Chiefs lose in 10 innings. 5.2ip, 8h, 3r, ND. Ankiel promoted the next day
When I was a young Peoria Chiefs intern in 2002 one of the very first press releases I wrote was about the Cardinals assigning Rick Ankiel to the Chiefs on a 30-day rehab stint as he attempted to recover from a left elbow strain. As an intern that summer working with the media, you can imagine how popular Rick was with the local media members so he and I chatted quite a bit. He was always very gracious with his time, working with the other Chiefs players (who were on their way to a MWL Championship) including Yadier Molina, Danny Haren, Chris Duncan and Tyler Johnson. Ankiel never did appear in a Chiefs game during his month in Peoria in 2002. He warmed up a few times in the bullpen but never entered a game. He left to attend Darryl Kile’s funeral in mid-June and was then shut down with the elbow strain causing him to miss the entire 2002 season.
In 2005 Rick came back to Peoria, this time as a cleanup hitter and outfielder for the Swing of the Quad Cities. That was the first year the Cubs were affiliated in Peoria and the Cardinals were in Quad Cities. Ankiel was again very popular with the Peoria fans and media and once again gracious with his time. I interviewed him on the Chiefs radio broadcast and after he clubbed a grand slam off the Groundscrew shed he asked for a copy of the DVD so he could see his swing. In fact he hit three of his 11 MWL home runs against the Chiefs, two in Peoria, and had a six-RBI game on June 19 including the grand slam.
The stats are crazy when you remember that Ankiel was a 2nd round pick as a pitcher: 76 home runs, 251 RBI, 101 doubles, .240 average, 31 outfield assists. This was after he won 13 games with a 3.90 ERA in 41 starts while striking out 269 in 242 innings. Imagine if you will Shelby Miller never pitching again but going down to rookie ball and working his way back up all the way to St. Louis as a power-hitting outfielder! Or a player like Yasiel Puig never playing the field again after 2015 but returning to the Majors in 2019 as a #3 starter on the Dodgers. This just doesn’t happen. But Ankiel did it. I call him the most underrated athlete of our generation. Just watch these homers and throws and remember THIS IS A PITCHER!
Never again are we likely to see the same player turn in a season with 30 starts on the mound going 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA and 194 strikeouts and then seven years later batting .264 with 25 home runs, 21 doubles and 71 RBI, Enjoy the retirement Rick, happy fishing, and we hope to see you back in Peoria sometime soon!
Videos of Ankiel
Rick homered in 2007 in his debut as an outfielder
Extra inning home run in NL playoffs in 2010
A great throw for Washington
Peoria Chiefs slideshow of Rick Ankiel from 1998 and 2002 plus a couple baseball cards.
With Spring Training under way it is time to get back to introducing you to potential 2014 Peoria Chiefs players. We do not have any inside information on our roster and nothing will be official until the end of March. But it is time to get familiar with some faces and names that we could see on the diamond in Peoria this summer. Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at 2012 and 2013 draftees plus foreign born players who excelled in State College, Johnson City and GCL Cardinals in 2013 plus some possible players returning to Peoria. If you missed any of our previous installments, catch up with: Alex Reyes, Carson Kelly, Rob Kaminsky, Oscar Mercado, Steven Ramos, Mike Mayers, Kenneth Peoples-Walls, Mason Katz and Ian McKinney.
Today we introduce you to the Cardinals 2013 sixth round draft pick, LHP Jimmy Reed.
Jimmy Reed, LHP Height: 5’11 Weightt: 165
DOB: 12/18/90Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD
Acquired: Drafted in the 6th round in 2013
School: University of Maryland
Throws: Fastball, Changeup, Curveball, Cutter
- Went 3-2 with two saves and a 2.05 ERA in 12 games and nine starts for the State College Spikes
- Made two starts in the playoffs for State College, getting the ball in game two against Jamestown in round one and in the deciding game three of the NYPL Championship series against Tri-City
- Struck out nine and walked two over 8 1/3 playoff innings
- Struck out five over three innings in a no-decision in the first round against Jamestown
- Allowed two runs on three hits over 5 1/3 innings in Game 3 of the Championship series while striking out four in the 4-3 loss to Tri-City
- Struck out 40 and walked 12 in 52 2/3 innings
- Posted a 0.98 ERA in six home outings
- Made his pro debut on June 19 with two shutout innings against Williamsport
- Earned a save on June 26 with three shutout innings against Mahoning Valley
- Earned his first win on July 3 with four shutout relief innings and five strikeouts at Williamsport
- Struck out a career-high six over four innings and earned a save against Lowell on July 17
- Moved into the starting rotation for the rest of the season and in seven starts between July 24 and August 30 he went at least four innings each time and allowed two earned runs or less six times
- Beat Tri-City July 30 with five innings of work and one run allowed
- Threw a career high six innings in a win against Batavia August 18 with two hits allowed and no runs
- Again threw six shutout innings with two hits allowed in a no-decision August 24 against Auburn
- Held righties to a .239 average on the season
- Did not allow a hit with the bases loaded.
- Was Maryland’s highest drafted pitcher since Toronto selected Brett Cecil in the first round in 2007
- In 2013 posted a 2.33 ERA with a 6-4 record while striking out 74 batters over 88 2/3 innings
- Struck out 22 over his last two outings as a senior and won back-to-back ACC Pitcher of the Week Awards, the first Terp to ever accomplish that feat
- Threw two complete games and had one shutout
- Saved eight games in 2012 as a junior, the second most in school history
- Pitched 20 times in 2012 with six starts and a 2.70 ERA, ranked ninth in ACC
- Struck out 52, walked 16 and held opponents to a .226 average in 60 innings
- Did not allow a hit in seven of first 13 appearances and did not allow a run in any of his first 12 outings
- Drafted in the 21st round by the New York Yankees after his junior year at Maryland but elected to return to school for his senior season
- Played in the Cape Cod League in 2012 pitching eight times for the Orleans (MA) Firebirds
- Made a team-leading 22 appearances in 2011 as a sophomore going 2-1 with a 4.86 ERA while striking out 33
- Struck out 15 in 15 outings as a freshman in 2010.
- Played four seasons at St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C
- Named second-team All-WCAC in 2008 and 2009
- All-Metro honorable mention in 2009
- Named to top-25 12 and under team in the nation as a youth player
- Chose Maryland over George Mason and UNC Charlotte
- Lists his all-time favorite baseball player as Chipper Jones
- Astros outfielder L.J. Hoes also played at St. John’s which is the second oldest (1851) Catholic Christian Brother’s school in the US and the oldest Army JROTC school
- Kevin Plank, founder/owner of Under Armour and Hollywood producer/writer/director Shane Salerno (Armageddon, Hawaii Five-0, Avatar 4) are alums of St. John’s.
Innings Pitched: 6.0, last August 24 vs. Auburn
Strikeouts: 6, July 17 vs. Lowell
Low-Hit Game (Min 5ip): 2, last, August 24 vs. Auburn
Runs Allowed: 5, August 11 at Brooklyn
Earned Runs Allowed: 5, August 11 at Brooklyn
Hits Allowed: 8, August 30 vs. Jamestown
Walks: 3, last, August 18 vs. Batavia
Win Streak: 1, August 18 – current
Current Streak: Won 1
With Spring Training games under way, 54 former Chiefs have seen action for 21 MLB clubs (What are you waiting for Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Minnesota, NY Mets, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle & Toronto?!)
Clearly more guys will get into games as the weeks progress and I’ll update these stats, but through the first weekend, here are all the former Chiefs who have played in a MLB Spring Training game:
|Yrs in Peo||G||AB||H||RBI||R||Notes|
|Patrick Wisdom||2013||STL||2||4||1||1||1||Home Run|
|Sam Fuld||2005||Oak||4||9||3||0||3||triple, walk|
|Coco Crisp||2000||Oak||2||4||0||0||1||3 walks|
|Josh Harrison||2008-09||Pit||2||4||2||1||1||Home Run|
Well the games are here! Spring Training games at least and the Cardinals have been on TV all weekend which is great to watch. Heading into Sunday’s games, 48 former Chiefs have represented 19 different MLB teams in spring training games. I’ll have a full update with stats here on Monday!
Let’s take advantage of the weekend can catch up on some news and notes regarding former Chiefs around Spring Training camps.
Patrick Wisdom (2013) got a lot of attention over the weekend first for his working relationship (MLB.com version) with California neighbor Allen Craig (Stltoday.com version). Then Wisdom got attention for this mammoth HR in the 9th inning of the Cardinals 1st spring game.
Elsewhere…Longtime friend of the Chiefs and the Vonachen family, Harry Caray would have turned 100 this weekend. MLB.com put together a tribute with four of Harry’s calls.
A number of former Chiefs are going through MLB spring training at the brand new Cubs Park in Mesa. Among those is Junior Lake (2009) who made his MLB debut last summer and is still learning the outfield.
With the largest outdoor screen in Central Illinois and based of the success of our Suite-Level gathering from the St. Louis Cardinals big game in October and three nights of Valentine’s Day dinners, we are looking into hosting a party for the Big Game in college hoops on Monday, April 7. We want your honest feedback as we put together and plan this outing. Which of these options best describes your thoughts on joining us at Dozer Park on Monday, April 7, one night before the Chiefs 2014 Home Opener? (The game starts at 8pm, doors would open at 7pm with the food from 7:30pm – 9pm)
Patrick Wisdom hit a walk off home run today (Wednesday) in the intrasquad scrimmage with coaches pitching. The Cardinals are taking a day off Thursday with their Grapefruit League opener on Friday against Miami. Congrats to Tyrell Jenkins who announced on twitter that he threw a bullpen for the first time post-surgery and also to Kurt Heyer who was promoted to big league camp on Sunday.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jason Motte likely won’t be ready for Opening Day. The Chiefs will honor Motte, a 2003 Peoria catcher, on July 26 as the first 1000 fans get a bobblehead.
Here’s a fantastic article by Jenifer Langosch on Carson Kelly and his education both on and off the field as he transitions to catcher.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus ranked the Cardinals #6 among all organizations and listed the 2014 Peoria Chiefs as the team to watch in the organization! In case you missed it two weeks ago, Jason Parks talked Cardinals and Chiefs prospects with us here on the blog.
Ozzie Smith wants to make Opening Day a national holiday! Ozzie will be at Dozer Park for IPMR night on June 14 and the first 1,000 fans on June 13 get Hall of Fame Ozzie Smith bobbleheads!
If you haven’t seen it yet get a tour and early preview of the new Ballpark Village from Cardinals.com with President Bill DeWitt III and Dan McLaughlin
Patrick Wisdom played third and first base for the Chiefs in 2013 until an early August promotion to Palm Beach. In 104 Midwest League games, Wisdom hit .231 with 13 home runs, 20 doubles, 62 RBI and 54 runs scored. The home runs and RBI were second on the Chiefs behind Jacob Wilson. He finished the season with 25 games in Palm Beach hitting .250 with two more home runs, four doubles, 11 RBI and eight runs scored.
On Friday, after working out in Jupiter, FL, Wisdom took some time to talk to us about his offseason and 2014 Spring Training.
Highlights of Wisdom for the 2013 season
An interview we did with Patrick in May at Dozer Park
And finally a slideshow of Wisdom photos.
Jacob Wilson played in 97 games for the Peoria Chiefs last season batting .264 with a team-high 15 home runs and 72 RBI. He collected 24 doubles, scored 63 runs, drew 40 walks and stole six bases before an early August promotion to Palm Beach. Wilson was named to the MWL All-Star team though a concussion suffered on a hit by pitch prevented him from traveling to Dayton for the game. Wilson finished the season in Palm Beach with three more home runs and 10 RBI in 32 games and then represented the Cardinals in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. In 13 games in the AFL he hit .304 with a home run, two doubles and 13 RBI.
Here is an interview from Thursday as Jacob was en route to Spring Training. We did lose one answer with Jacob talking about working out with the University of Memphis baseball team but the reception for just that one answer cut out too much. I was able to fix the next two answers but not that one.
Relive some of Jacob’s best moments with the Peoria Chiefs in 2013:
2013 Chiefs photo slideshow
After missing 2012 with a shoulder injury, Charlie Tilson had a break-out season for the Peoria Chiefs in 2013. The former 2nd round pick hit .303 in 100 games with four home runs, eight doubles, six triples, 15 steals, 49 runs scored and 30 RBI. He earned a late season promotion to Palm Beach and collected 10 hits in nine games. A native of the Chicago area (New Trier High School), Tilson is headed to spring training this week for STEP Camp. He joined us on Tuesday for a chat about his off-season and a preview of 2014.
Tilson hit two home runs against Wisconsin on August 15, here is the first:
My thanks to Charlie Tilson for his time and later this week we are hoping to catch up with a few of his 2013 Chiefs teammates.
With Spring Training underway now, news is fast and furious. I’ve rounded up some of the best stories and nuggets on former Chiefs from around MLB this week as camps opened. Hope everyone had a great President’s Day and you are staying warmer and less buried in snow than we are in Peoria!
From the Cardinals, Jenifer Langosch tells us that the Cardinals are being proactive with catchers in regards to plays at the plate. Also former Chief Jason Motte is showing progress as he comes back from surgery.
In an early camp blog entry from Jenifer I was intrigued by the note towards the bottom and how it will affect the Chiefs. “Mozeliak said that the Cardinals plan to implement more defensive shifting in the Minors this season as a way to prepare their players for such situations in the Majors. The Cardinals expect to be more proactive in shifting.”
On the Cubs side, 2012 Chiefs SS Javier Baez is getting a ton of attention down in Arizona from both ESPN and Cubs.com. Former first round picks and 2009 Chiefs Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson are still fighting to make the Cubs roster. Welington Castillo is finally healthy behind the plate while Darwin Barney was one of the first players to show up in Mesa.
Out in New York it has been a typically crazy off-season for the Yankees. Robinson Cano is in Seattle, Masahiro Tanaka has been added from Japan, the Alex Rodriguez saga is (maybe?!) over and Derek Jeter announced this will be his last season. Well former Chiefs C and Peoria area native Joe Girardi talks about a team in transition and former Chiefs SS Brendan Ryan knows he will be booed when replacing a legend.
And in Philadelphia, former Chiefs Manager Ryne Sandberg has put his own spin on his first Spring Training as a MLB Manager.
Planning on talking to some 2013 Chiefs players as they arrive in Jupiter, FL this week so keep an eye on the blog for those interviews plus news and notes as they happen! Thanks for reading, NB.