St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel throws to the diamond after fielding a ball

(Photo by Anthony Souffle/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT/Sipa USA)

Ankiel Recalls His 'Greatest Outfield Throws' & Unexpected Reaction By La Russa

The former Cardinals pitcher and outfielder was the featured guest of Inside Cardinals Nation on KMOX.

June 21, 2018 - 11:15 am

Ever so often you just have to go back and rewatch the display put on by the cannon that was Rick Ankiel's left arm. The two throws he made from center field at Coors Field on May 6, 2008, will make your jaw drop every time. 

Those throws were one of the topics of conversation between the former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder and Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin on KMOX's Inside Cardinals Nation show on Wednesday night. They talk about the throws at the 21:00 mark: 

On the second throw, when he gunned down the runner trying for a triple, he says he didn't even have time to look up before the throw, "I just grabbed the ball and threw it as hard as I could." With no one else on base it really didn't matter where the ball went. 

But on the first throw to get Willy Taveras, one of the fastest players in baseball at the time, he actually made what Tony La Russa believed to be a bad decision to throw to third base. With runners on first and second, the correct throw would have to go to second to keep the runner at first and not risk both runners being able to advance. 

"I knew that as a outfielder, but when I started backing up a light bulb just went off, I was like 'No, I got this guy. I'm doing it,'" Ankiel says. "And thank goodness it worked out. But Tony says, 'Hey that was a great throw, but don't ever effin' do it again.'"