A quick Garret Anderson story

March, 1, 2011
3/01/11
1:43
PM PT
Garret Anderson, who announced his retirement Tuesday, wasn't just one of the game's most underrated players for nearly two decades; he might have been the least appreciated player in his own backyard.

How do you know whether a player is giving it all he's got? Does it matter, as long as he produces year in and year out?

I was in my first season covering the Angels in 2004, and Anderson was just emerging from a long period of being overshadowed by Tim Salmon to be overshadowed most of that year by Vladimir Guerrero.

He had such a relaxed style, you just couldn't tell whether he cared. In person, he could be short and dismissive of even well-considered questions.

In the heat of a pennant race that year, Anderson looked to me to be lackadaisical going back on a deep fly ball. It dropped on the warning track for a key double. When we asked Mike Scioscia about it after the game, he hinted that Anderson was dealing with a nagging knee injury. Anderson had insisted he was healthy.

I was on deadline, and Anderson, as was typically the case, wasn't immediately available to the media.

I wrote something about how he appeared "either injured or disinterested" on the play. In addition to being poor diction ("disinterested" means neutral. I should have said, "uninterested"), was I being unfair?

For the longest time, I had no idea that Anderson cared about his public image, but I found out. He avoided me for weeks after that before finally confronting me while the team was stretching before a playoff game in Boston. He wanted to know why I would write something like that. He was concerned fans might believe it.

Later, I found out Anderson was among the most well-liked Angels by team employees. They say he treated everyone alike, from fellow players to assistant equipment managers. Looking back, I think he was just a quiet guy who didn't want to talk to reporters all that much.

And it was a good lesson. You just can't tell how much someone cares.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
11 3.36 110 139
OTHER LEADERS
BAM. Trout .302
HRM. Trout 24
RBIM. Trout 76
RM. Trout 72
OPSM. Trout .982
ERAG. Richards 2.62
SOG. Richards 139