By Chris Emma–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Payton Anderson always has a smile on her face. It runs in the family.
Such a smile is what Tim Anderson cherishes as he arrives at the ballpark each day, knowing well his daughter is taken care of. Tim is a married father of this beautiful 1-year-old daughter and at 23 years old is a young shortstop the White Sox believe can help lead their organizational overhaul.
On Opening Day, Anderson was eager to look toward the future and his lofty aspirations — but he’s come so many miles to not look back, too. Anderson’s big league journey started long before last season, taking him from an upbringing in Alabama and now an arrival in Chicago.
“I treasure every moment of it, just considering where I came from,” Anderson said Monday standing by his locker stall at Guaranteed Rate Field. “I came from not having much in life growing up. We really didn’t have much as a family. My mom, she never showed it.”
Anderson only knew his mother’s smile growing up — not the harsh realities of poverty. She allowed him to grow up and dream big.
His mother, Lucille Brown, is at the ballpark Monday for the opener to this new White Sox season, Anderson’s first Opening Day in the majors. Joined by family members, she’ll be watching with pride.
Anderson recently signed a six-year, $25-million deal with the White Sox that could be worth up to $51.5 million with the options on the end of it. After growing up with little, he now has financial security. Anderson took his check straight to the bank and bought his mother a Mercedes-Benz SUV. He had his brother take Lucille in to the dealer and watched through FaceTime as she made the choice.
Lucille is still on cloud nine.
“I owe it all to her,” he added.
Anderson has a lot on his plate in this second season. During his rookie season, he posted a slash line of .283/.306/.432, hitting nine home runs and knocking in 30 runs in 99 games. He gave the White Sox a needed boost while inspiring hope for their future.
Anderson is working to improve his plate approach (he walked in just 3.0 percent of plate appearances) and become better at going to right field with pitches. Meanwhile, the White Sox are amid a rebuild with Anderson, the 2013 first-round pick, the first on the scene.
The White Sox lineup for the 2017 opener could feature just one incumbent in 2018: Anderson. Players like Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Zack Collins are coming down the road. Anderson has already arrived.
In fact, he’s wise beyond his years.
“For being so young, he’s quite the professional,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He takes pride in how he prepares. He’s very focused. He enjoys it, he has fun with it. I think he’s one of those guys that’s kind of born to do this.”
Always upbeat, Renteria admires the way his young shortstop approaches the game. Anderson arrives at the clubhouse each day with a smile on his face. It was passed down from his mother and now to his daughter. But when he steps between the lines, that smile is gone and the intense competitor within is revealed.
A hero to his family, Anderson now strives to be great for the White Sox. He’s thrilled to have come this far but is eager for what’s to come.
“I want to be the best of the best,” Anderson said. “To be that, you can never be satisfied.”