Richard Alexander Ankiel ( born July 19, 1979) is an American former professional baseball center fielder and pitcher. Ankiel played in Major League Baseball from 1999 through 2013 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Houston Astros, and New York Mets. Ankiel was a pitcher with the Cardinals from 1999 until 2001, when he found himself unable to throw strikes consistently. After trying to regain his pitching form in the minor leagues and briefly returning to the majors in 2004, he switched to the outfield in early 2005. For two and a half years, he honed his skills as a hitter and fielder in the Cardinals' minor-league system. He returned to the Cardinals on August 9, 2007. As a Cardinal until 2009, Ankiel hit 47 home runs as an outfielder and two as a pitcher. After the 2009 season, Ankiel became a free agent. Subsequently, he was signed by the Royals and later was traded to the Braves. Ankiel became the first player since Babe Ruth to have won at least 10 games as a pitcher and also hit at least 50 home runs. Ankiel is also the only player other than Ruth to both start a postseason game as a pitcher and hit a home run in the postseason as a position player. His change of position, and the fact that he played for six teams in a five-season span, suggest that Ankiel's playing history represents "one of the stranger careers in baseball history" in the words of journalist Barry Petchesky. Ankiel announced via Twitter on August 7, 2018 that he would attempt to return to Major League Baseball in 2019 as a relief pitcher. His rationale for the late-career return was that "When you take a look at baseball, the game has swung back around to my style of pitching," he said. "We talk about the big curveball, the fastballs up, so I feel like why not come back as a lefty reliever and put one more chapter on the book."