Brian Anderson Returns to the White Sox

White SoxTuesday, Sept. 30, 2008: Twins @ White Sox – Game 163

With the American League Central division title on the line, and a crowd of 40,354 dressed in black at U.S. Cellular Field, the 2008 “tiebreaker” game is easily one of the most memorable games in recent White Sox history. Furthermore, the game featured many memorable plays to complement its expectations. Ken Griffey Jr. throwing a runner out at home plate and Jim Thome hitting a tape measure home run late in the game to break a scoreless tie are two such moments.

But does anyone remember the final out? In case you don’t recall, a player by the name of Brian Anderson put the icing on the cake with a diving catch in center field to seal the victory and the division title.

Unfortunately, that was about the last we saw of Brian Anderson.

A former first-round draft pick (15th overall) by the Sox in 2003, Anderson was once considered a five-tool player. Defense was never an issue with Anderson as three of the tools showed up to the ballpark every day. The other two tools, however, we nowhere to be found. Anderson couldn’t hit for average or power. He simply could not hit at all. Considering the spot where he was taken in the draft, he was the definition of a bust. The Sox were once so high on his potential, that they traded away Aaron Roward – the team’s starting center fielder who had just helped them win a World Series for the first time in 88 years – in order to clear a space in the outfield for Anderson to fill.

The 2006 season was Anderson’s first chance to be the team’s everyday starter, and he failed miserably. In 134 games, he hit .225 with 8 HR and 33 RBI. After an injury-plagued 2007 season, it only took Anderson two more seasons to stumble his way out of Major League Baseball. The Sox traded him in 2009 to Boston and Anderson is yet to see the big leagues again since that season.

Strangely enough, he spent the next three seasons of his professional career trying to become a pitcher. The Royals, Yankees, Dodgers, and Rockies all gave him a shot to revive his career from 2009-2012. Unfortunately for Brian, he wasn’t any more successful pitching the baseball than he was hitting it. By the start of the 2012 season, he was officially out of professional baseball.

Three years later, the Sox are giving him a second chance as they signed him to a minor league contract earlier this week. His contract is about as cheap as they come, and it doesn’t even guarantee him an invite to Spring Training. But it does offer him something that he values more than anything – another chance.

Maybe he will never make it back to the big leagues, or maybe he will become a star. Only time will tell. But at the very least, it is always exciting to hear about a hard-working professional athlete being granted another chance. Maybe Anderson’s comeback wont be as monumental as that of Josh Hamilton; but then again……. maybe it will.