I have written before about Smokey Joe Wood and his mysterious retirement after the 1922 season after he made a similar successful conversion. The Babe Ruth story does not need to be told. Former Baltimore Orioles LHP Adam Loewen is still attempting to return to the majors as an outfielder. After initially making the comeback with the Toronto Blue Jays organization in 2009, he played for the Mets organization in 2012, playing for AAA Buffalo. He started 2013 back in Buffalo, but also back in the Blue Jays organization, but after 1 game, he was sent to AA New Hampshire, where he has hit .257, 10, 27 in 49 games. Loewen has a long way to go and at age 29, is running out of time. It is likely that Loewen himself may be done if he does not make strides to be a MLB player soon. If Ankiel is done at age 33, it is safe to say Loewen is running out of time to make it back to the major leagues. He did, however, get a September call up in 2011, going 6-32 with a double and a home run for the Jays.
I wanted to mention another similar case to the before mentioned. Von McDaniel, on this date in 1957, made his major league debut as a pitcher for the St Louis Cardinals. He was just 18 years old. (Ankiel was 19 when he made his debut for St Louis in 1999.) The sad story about McDaniel is the fact that he appeared in his last MLB game just a year later, and was done playing major league baseball at age 19. McDaniel was the brother of longtime MLB reliever Lindy McDaniel, who pitched 20 years in the majors. After serious mechanical issues kept him from being able to pitch, he made the conversion to third base, where he was an adequate, not spectacular, fielder. McDaniel's bat would have a big say in whether he would make the return to the big leagues.
Never a power hitter, McDaniel saw his average dip into the .240s in AA then into the .230s in AAA. Finally, at age 27, Von McDaniel gave it up. Ankiel's story was not the norm as could be told by McDaniel (though he passed away in 1995). Loewen has his work cut out for him; a story worth rooting for. But you will be waiting a long time if you are expecting to see another Ruth type hitter (or even Wood for that matter).
Though plenty of players have made the transition, Ruth is obviously in a league of his own. Then becomes Wood, with other hitters who have pitched making the list. Ankiel should then be mentioned, with some space for Loewen if he makes the big leagues again. McDaniel, unfortunately, ranks at the bottom as he never made passed AAA as a position player.