Garret Anderson, one of the most quietly productive players of his generation, announced the end of his 17-year career on Tuesday.
"It is with mixed emotions that I have decided to retire from baseball," Anderson said in a statement issued by the Angels. "I know I will miss many aspects of the game, the grind of playing every day, hitting with the game on the line, the clubhouse banter, making a good defensive play, the guys, the roar of the crowd after a win, and the friendships made throughout the years."
Anderson, 38, spent 15 with the Angels before spending the past two years with the Braves and Dodgers. He is a .293 career hitter with 287 home runs, 1,365 RBIs, 1,084 runs scored and 2,529 hits.
He is the Angels' franchise leader in games played, hits, doubles, total bases, runs, extra-base hits and RBIs.
"Garret was an incredible player, one with a calm demeanor and quiet confidence that allowed him to excel in this game," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
"Garret's role in where the Angels organization is today cannot be overstated. He had a tremendous passion to play this game and a deep understanding of how to play to win and that was very important to this organization. We wish him and his family nothing but the best as he begins the next chapter of his life."
"Garret was a student of the game, someone who always came to the park prepared to play," said Angels general manager Tony Reagins. "It is gratifying for me to know he leaves the game among the greatest Angels of all-time."
A Los Angeles native raised in the San Fernando Valley, Anderson signed out of Kennedy High School as a fourth-round Draft pick in 1990, electing not to play Division I basketball.
He reached the Major Leagues briefly in 1994 and arrived to stay the following season, batting .321 in 106 games. His power numbers gradually increased until he erupted in 2000 with 35 homers and 117 RBIs, batting .286.
He averaged 30 homers and 120 RBIs over four seasons ending in 2003. He was a driving force behind the Angels' 2002 World Series championship club, finishing fourth in the American League's Most Valuable Player balloting. He also drew votes in 2001 and '03, finishing 21st and 14th, respectively. He led the league in doubles with a career-high 56 in 2002 and 49 in '03.
Anderson always felt that if he'd focused on base hits, in the fashion of Tony Gwynn and Pete Rose, rather than bringing power into his game, he could have approached the magical 3,000-hit mark.
Anderson turned the 2003 All-Star Game in Chicago into his personal showcase, winning the Home Run Derby and then the MVP award in the Midsummer Classic, coming a triple shy of a cycle in leading the AL to a 7-6 victory.
"People are waking up and seeing Garret's talent," Scioscia said that night, having held the reins for the AL. "He's one of the top five hitters in the game and a lot of people don't see it. He's not comfortable with it, but whether he likes it or not, a lot more people are going to know about him now."
Anderson's low profile didn't make him a media star by any means, but it endeared him to people inside the game, such as one of his first professional managers, Dusty Baker. Anderson was an Angels prospect when he played for Baker in the Arizona Fall League.
"Garret is a players' player in the sense that he's all about playing the game right and not calling attention to himself," Baker, the Reds' manager, said last year. "He was like that as a kid.
"I've watched him grow and evolve. I love everything about the guy. Great player, good family man, good teammate. He's everything you want in a player, a true professional."
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