Ballplayer to a 'T': Angels great Garret Anderson retires

Garret Anderson(notes) announced his retirement Tuesday.

If you didn't already know, it probably was because he didn't want a big deal made of it.

Anderson was kind of quiet. OK, really quiet. I can't remember anything he has ever said. But he did a few things on the baseball field:

• He had a pretty swing; Not as pretty or powerful as that of Ken Griffey, but it was pleasant and effective. And cool enough to have been immortalized by Batting Stance Guy.

• To that end, Anderson won the 2003 All-Star Home Run Derby at U.S. Cellular Field.

• He once had 10 RBIs in a game.

• He hit 522 career doubles, good for 40th all time.

More: In 17 seasons, Anderson had 2,529 hits, 3,984 total bases, 2,682 putouts in left field, three All-Star appearances and a World Series championship in 2002. Rally. Monkey.

He was synonymous with the Los Angeles Angels in the late 1990s and most of the 2000s. They might as well call it The Angels Record Book at Garret Anderson, because most of the hitting records belong to him.

Other than that, I know little about him. He's got a couple of kids. His first name is missing a "T," but that's something fairly unique to him, and I finally got used to it a couple of years ago. Or maybe not.

Anderson never said much to the media, and he never could be accused of false hustle. To realize that he cared about baseball, you had to look other places.

Sometimes, all we really need to know about a ballplayer is that he can, or could, play.

At Anderson's retirement press conference, he lamented the impression he made on those outside of the clubhouse. Via the Orange County Register:

"I don't 'think' I was misunderstood. I know I was misunderstood," Anderson said to reporters Tuesday. "When I look back at all the conversations I've had and all the things that have been written about me, I know I've been misunderstood, to some degree.

"I know I play a little bit of a role in that. But, yeah, I've been misunderstood. I'm sorry for that. But it was who I was. I was going out, playing hard every day. For the most part, I was just a quiet person and I know that leads to a lot of misunderstanding."

A quiet person, but one who could show emotion if he thought nobody was watching:

(That's coach Dave Parker on the left, and someone who looks like — but isn't — Frank Viola on the right.)

Angels manager Mike Scioscia blasted the notion that Anderson didn't care enough:

"I think the perception of Garret within the media and with fans is totally different than what Garret was really about,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''Garret was one of the most focused and had one of the greatest wills to achieve. It didn't manifest itself outwardly in the same way it did with David Eckstein(notes) or in Darin Erstad(notes) or an Adam Kennedy(notes). But make no mistake about it, his focus and his passion for the game and how hard he worked every day was second to none."

He would know.

The end of Anderson's career was kind of Willie Mays-like, in that he stayed a little too long. His presence in the Dodgers lineup late in the 2010 season didn't exactly impede the San Francisco Giants from getting to the playoffs. And yet, Anderson didn't want to leave the game:

Anderson joked that "the decision is not totally mine — I mean, there are 30 clubs out there who made the decision." He admitted he tried to find a way to extend his playing career into an 18th season but didn't like the options he had.

It's understandable, him wanting to keep playing. He's a ballplayer. It's what he knows.

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