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

BA LEADER
Mike Trout
BA HR RBI R
.323 5 11 12
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Trout 5
RBIR. Ibanez 12
RM. Trout 12
OPSM. Trout 1.026
WC. Wilson 2
ERAG. Richards 2.84
SOC. Wilson 24