For more great baseball stories like this one, 'like' us on Facebook -

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mark Riggins, Ankiel's Coach - 679

(Also check out the redone entry from Nov. 18: Mark Riggins, Teaching Pitching)

Last Monday, I wrote about 1990 CMC set member Jose Offerman and his troubles in the Dominican Republic. I jumped ahead to his card, as opposed to regularly picking random cards, because the topic was on everybody's mind. Today's card is random, and, as it turns out, topical.

Mark Riggins spent five seasons as a pitcher in the minors, many more since as a coach and instructor. He even made St. Louis in 1995 as a pitching coach under manager Joe Torre. But what he may be remembered for is the comeback of Rick Ankiel, who this past weekend signed a $3.2 million contract with the Royals.

Ankiel was runner-up to the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2000, but inexplicably lost all control during the playoffs. Riggins spent 35 days with Ankiel after his disasterous showing that fall.

As the Cardinals' then-roving pitching instructor, Riggins continued working with Ankiel until September 2004, when Ankiel returned to the majors. Ankiel appeared in five games that month, with an ERA of 5.40.

"Me, I was extremely pleased with the way he threw," Riggins told after an August 2004 appearance prior to Ankiel's call-up. "He had good velocity, good control and he was composed. For getting out there the first time, this was an outstanding night for him."

Ankiel, of course, switched to outfield the next spring, making it back for a break-out 2007. Ankiel also faced questions that fall about another source of help on his 2004 comeback: HGH, which Ankiel would admit using, but, he said, it was on doctor's orders.

Riggins spent nearly three decades working in the Cardinals' system, a string he broke in 2007. He was named in November 2007 as the rival Cubs' minor league pitching coordinator.

To read a New York Times article about Ankiel's 2001 progress with Riggins click here: Another from St. Louis Sports Online.

1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 29/880 - 3.3%
Major Leaguers: 14 - 48%
Never Made the Majors: 15 - 52%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 6
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 8

No comments:

Post a Comment