FanDuel - WFBC

May 08, 2008

Do not run on Rick Ankiel.:

posted by justgary to baseball at 01:48 AM - 32 comments

Those are the two best throws from the outfield I have ever seen! What an arm, what did they think running on an ex-pitcher with the pitch speed of Ankiel would get them?

posted by jojomfd1 at 03:33 AM on May 08

beautiful.

posted by budman13 at 05:19 AM on May 08

Rick Ankiel is the real life version of The Natural.

posted by BornIcon at 06:47 AM on May 08

jojo: you saw Ankiel's last outing as a pitcher right? He was anything but accurate.

posted by NoMich at 07:01 AM on May 08

The catch and throw on the tagup was beautiful! Nice job of moving forward on the catch and getting the momemtum going. The only bad thing was that the Cardinals lost last night when Izzy blew the save.

posted by whitedog65 at 07:19 AM on May 08

Ankiel show cased his arm last year, with a few throws from right. I sat in the bleachers at Busch III, and didn't know what was better, his cannon for an arm or his accuracy. When he pitched, he was compared to Koufax. When he returned as a OF, he was mentioned alongside of Babe Ruth. Now with these throws, people have said Clemente. His story is amazing. Thanks for posting this, justgary.

posted by BoKnows at 08:13 AM on May 08

Here's the St. Louis Post Dispatch article, with comments from long time Rockies right fielder and current Cards coach Larry Walker.

posted by BoKnows at 08:57 AM on May 08

Those were decent, certainly what you'd expect from a former pitcher (well, I guess if he was consistently that good as a pitcher he wouldn't have been in centerfield) but they were from center field. Those weren't 300 foot throws as Larry Walker attests, but impressive nonetheless. I still say the greatest throw I ever saw was Ichiro Suzuki on April 11th, 2001- not in the majors more than 10 days and with people still questioning whether he could make it as a major leaguer. After coming in as a pinch hitter in that game and sparking what would prove to be the game winning rally, Ichiro's defense in RF was what had baseball talking. On a routine single, Oakland's speedy Terrence Long tried to advance from 1st to 3rd and test the arm of Ichiro. Long would have been safe 99 times out of a 100, but Ichiro scooped up the single and in one fluid motion delivered an absolute laser beam into the glove of David Bell. Sadly, thanks to the ham-fisted deuchebaggery of MLB, I can't find actual video of this anywhere. But if you saw it back when it was in the daily and weekly highlights of every sports show in the country, you remember the play I'm talking about.

posted by hincandenza at 09:54 AM on May 08

NoMich, never saw it but have read it was one hell of a melt down. That still doesn't take away from his strenght though. Given that he has had all of the troubles he has had and Tommy John surgery, it makes it even more impressive I think.

posted by jojomfd1 at 10:06 AM on May 08

Those throws were epic. The runner in the second one broke the last out at third base rule, but I imagine that won't be as much of an issue in the future. Ankiel's arm has reached the point where it has deterrent value.

posted by rcade at 10:48 AM on May 08

Hal, I saw that Ichiro play broadcast live. It was insane. But those two from Ankiel looked absolutely amazing, particularly if you remember watching the meltdown like myself. Real neat to see him re-invent his major league game. Throws like that are just about the most exciting part of baseball. At least they're my favorite part of the game.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:18 AM on May 08

The runner in the second one broke the last out at third base rule Isn't the rule to not make the first out at third base?

posted by bender at 11:42 AM on May 08

It's the last out. Taking a chance on advancing to third with less than two outs is of greater value as you can be driven in by several plays (sacrifice fly, squeeze, ground out, etc.) which don't exist with two down. And speaking of obsessive, Good Lord.

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:01 PM on May 08

That's an interesting article, fraze. I think that it does simplify (ironic, given the detail) the decision to send or not send a runner based on percentages and not taking into account relative runner and fielder skills. I suppose comparison of situations has value, though. Speaking of which (from the article): For first to third on a single, the break-even values are 91.2% with no one out, 76.9% with one, and surprisingly, back to 91.6% with two outs. Score one for conventional wisdom. You really donít want to make the first or third out of an inning at third base. I guess we can both be right.

posted by bender at 01:25 PM on May 08

Those were decent... posted by Hal Incandenza Oh come on. You're insane. Those throws were spectacular by any measure. It's not even debatable. I guess we can both be right. Correct (I had 5 paragraphs explaining why you're both half right and half wrong, dammit).

posted by justgary at 02:10 PM on May 08

Incredible throws. They would be impressive if he simply one-hopped them, but for the throws to reach third base on the fly with that much accuracy is unreal.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:25 PM on May 08

On a much smaller scale, granted, but those throws remind me of an embarassing moment from my adult softball league. The mens' league I play in also includes (at least it did six or seven years ago) this guy by the name of Dave Stieb. He plays left field, apparently the position he played in his younger days before a scout saw his arm and decided he might have a career as a pitcher. To keep it short, I hit a nice easy line drive single to left, and did the old "make the turn and look." As I turned and looked, I heard the ball smack the first baseman's glove behind me and he tagged me out. I never saw the throw, but my teammates said that, from mid left field to first base (on a softball field, yes) the throw never got more than ten feet off the ground and hit the glove on the fly. Beware the guy with a pitcher's arm in the outfield. Those dudes can throw the damn ball!

posted by tahoemoj at 02:35 PM on May 08

I've seen that Ichiro highlight and it is indeed awesome. I don't know the rule about 3rd base, so no comment on that, but it was Willy Taveras, who's as fast as they come. After the game Rockies coach Clint Hurdle was asked whether those should be categorized as baserunning mistakes. He said no, that sometimes the other guy just makes a great play.

posted by drumdance at 02:50 PM on May 08

It's been mentioned more than once to beware of the pitcher playing in the outfield, in respect to their accuracy. So how come is it that whenever they turn and throw over to first base from the pitcher's mound ( or when they field the ball and toss to first) there is a good chance the ball is going to wind up in the dugout? I'm exaggerating, of course, but it always seems to be a hold-your-breath moment when the pitcher is doing something other than pitching.

posted by THX-1138 at 03:26 PM on May 08

I'm exaggerating, of course, but it always seems to be a hold-your-breath moment when the pitcher is doing something other than pitching. Is Rick Ankiel a pitcher? Answer here. (Choose the Ankiel video. Sorry, I don't know how to link directly to this)

posted by BoKnows at 04:12 PM on May 08

So how come is it that whenever they turn and throw over to first base from the pitcher's mound ( or when they field the ball and toss to first) there is a good chance the ball is going to wind up in the dugout? I'm exaggerating, of course That is not neccesarily an exaggeration. During the 2006 playoffs the Tigers' pitchers became thoroughly incapable of making easy throws to third base after fielding grounders.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:00 PM on May 08

And then here comes Ankiel, who couldn't find the same zip code the batter was in during that melt down and the subsequent comeback if memory serves. But put him in center field getting the ball on a run or picking it up, turning, and throwing and you have to pick my jaw up off the floor. That sure is something, as my dad would say.

posted by THX-1138 at 06:49 PM on May 08

That second throw was caught head high by Glaus. It could've went another 20-30ft.

posted by BoKnows at 06:51 PM on May 08

Just because he was mentioned in this discussion, here is a collection of Ichiro fielding (catching/throwing) highlights from his time in Japan. ICHIRO! My favourite is only 9 seconds in, when the left fielder doesn't know where the ball is, and Ichiro suddenly zips by in the background like a hummingbird. Oh, and I think this page has the "Ichiro guns out Long" throw.

posted by grum@work at 07:42 PM on May 08

Ichiro has an amazing arm, but who the HELL was that catcher? At least 75% of those outs came as a result of him blocking the plate and flipping the runner away!

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:07 PM on May 08

justgary: Oh come on. You're insane. Those throws were spectacular by any measure. It's not even debatable.
Well, they were impressive throws, but I just don't see them as spectacular- certainly not the second throw. The first throw was incredible- dead on strike- but the second was just a typical "good" throw. The only reason it was included in the video was to pad the first throw, because the circumstances (inning-ending throw-out at 3rd) were the same. No decent outfielder should be much more inaccurate than that second throw was, namely a throw requiring the 3rd baseman to leave the bag. Glaus is 6'5"; he makes a big target, and used that height to snare the second throw. Good links, grum- that second link WAS the famous throw from Ichiro, and that's why I rate it more impressive than Ankiel's; the distance was roughly the same, but Ichiro's was more of a laser beam versus Ankiel's accurate but more parabolic throw. They both were dead-on strikes, but something about the flat-line zip of Ichiro's just impresses me more. Oh, and wfrazerjr: way to think like a scout. :) I was noticing that too: that catcher was letting NO ONE touch the plate, which is easily half the awesome in those plays.

posted by hincandenza at 10:47 PM on May 08

Those are the two best throws from the outfield I have ever seen! Maybe that you've ever seen, but not nearly the best. The greatest I ever saw was Ellis Valentine, Montreal Expos, from the foul pole in right field at Olypmic Stadium to the 3rd base bag, on the fly, with the runner out by plenty.

posted by tommytrump at 11:04 PM on May 08

Well, they were impressive throws, but I just don't see them as spectacular- certainly not the second throw. The first throw was incredible- dead on strike- but the second was just a typical "good" throw. Well, you said decent, which basically means average. We'll disagree on the second throw. You wouldn't believe the amount of games I watch on my extra innings package and I'm not seeing these typically good throws. that second link WAS the famous throw from Ichiro Great throw, but I fail to see how it was more impressive than Ankiel's. You had me believing he was throwing from the warning track.

posted by justgary at 12:33 AM on May 09

Looking at all 3 again we're just on different wave lengths. Ankiel's second throw (the one you called typical) is the most impressive one by far to me. Ichiro's throw is a bullet, but possible because of the shorter distance.

posted by justgary at 12:56 AM on May 09

I guess it's more about who's game you enjoy watching more than who's throw was better or more accurate. I personally think that Ankiel's throw were more impressive considering the fact that Ankiel couldn't get the ball past 60' 6" (pitcher's mound to home plate) when he was a pitcher and now just seems like a natural fit in the outfield. I'm a huge Ichiro fan and consider him to be one of the greatest contact hitters in the sport and also happens to have a sniper rifle for an arm but Ankiel's throw's to 3rd base to end the innings were spectacular.....but that's just my opinion.

posted by BornIcon at 07:23 AM on May 09

one of the pirates at Old three rivers stadium. I want to say it was Joe Randa but I dont think that is right, nailed a guy from the right field corner at third on the fly. When fox sports does it top 50 baseball plays, I see it shown all the time.

posted by Debo270 at 06:47 AM on May 12

Thanks for the post. Always nice to see fielding plays other than diving catches make the highlight reel.

posted by aerotive at 10:19 AM on May 12

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