Written by Daniel Paulling
Published: 08 June 2007
There he is. The man that doubled in three key runs in Anaheim’s game 7 victory over the Giants in the 2002 World Series. The man that out slugged Albert Pujols in the 2002 home run derby and was the all-star game’s MVP. The man that sits at his locker before a game and talks about the opposing pitcher to hitters or opposing hitters to pitchers. Even hitting instructor Mickey Hatcher asks the center fielder for advice. He has been the Angels’ MVP four of the past five years. This man is Garret Anderson.
On April 13th
of this season, Mr. Anderson had to do something that he truly disliked. He had to talk about himself. “The fans have watched me grow up into a pretty good major league ballplayer. Uh, I don’t want to pat myself on the back too much.” In a game full of large egos, Anderson is great to have around.
The story began when Garret was a youngster. He played tee ball and Little League and from that time on, he knew that he wanted to be a professional athlete - just like every kid in America. During his first two years of high school he played basketball at JFK High in Granada Hills, California. Then he took batting practice during his junior year and as coach Manny Alvarado said it, “He was hitting the ball all over the place, hard.” The coach went on to say that Anderson was like Roy Hobbs trying out in the movie The Natural
At this young age, Garret played left field and he “could hit the ball far enough to make it go out of a major league park.” But Garret wasn’t really trying when he played the field, which caused the scouts to discount him, citing that he “had no desire.” It was only because baseball came so easily to Garret.
“They didn’t see what I saw in him,” Anderson’s HS coach says. “Focus and character are what separate those who make it form those who don’t….” Except for some guys from the Angels. They drafted Anderson in the fourth round of the 1990 draft and signed him with a $90,000 bonus. (Note to Scott Boras: It’s not about the large sums of money. $90,000 back then isn’t that much today. Quit trying to screw up the game of baseball.)
So, what makes Garret so special? Well, he’s one of the most levelheaded athletes in the game of baseball. He does not have a large ego and he is especially not a large braggart. He’s a wholesome family man and as icing on the cake, he has the most hits since 1995 of any major league player. Fans, if you have a chance to see this man play, get to Edison Field, or wherever it may be. After a stay on the DL, Mr. Anderson (not the evil virus from the Matrix trilogy) is back in the big leagues.
He is of the true class acts of baseball. Thank you for everything you have done and will do for our sport, Garret.