SPRINGFIELD, Mo–Baseball’s definitely on center stage this time of year with college and high school tournaments in full swing. And Thursday the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame had its annual baseball luncheon and inducted four individuals and two programs.
Among those going into the hall the late Howard Bell who coached Glendale, he was represented by his wife Kim.
Ozark coach Mike Essick was inducted as was the Tiger program.
Centralia softball coach Jill Angell won four state softball championships.
The St. Louis Browns organization was inducted.
And former St. Louis Cardinal Rick Ankiel who made the bigs as a pitcher, then lost his pitching touch. But he reinvented himself into an outfielder and played 17 seasons. Ankiel and Babe Ruth are the only players in baseball history with more than 25 wins as a pitcher and more than 25 homers.
“When I first started my goal was to be one of the best pitchers ever. As life goes we can’t predict the future and things don’t go the way we want. Certainly when I got the yips and started throwing stuff. Going through all that was one of the most difficult times. I can’t thank the Cardinals enough, the organization. For standing behind me and really giving me an opportunity to switch over as an outfielder,” said Rick Ankiel.
“I was a big fan of Augie Garrido’s. And what Augie said what’s important about baseball? It’s a game. When the kids know that you care about them first and foremost. They’ll open up to you and you become more than a coach to them,” said Mike Essick.
“I think that Howard cared so much about the players. More so off the field then on the field. I think his impact was made in the classroom and on the field. Kids just liked to play for him,” said Kim Bell.