Mobile BayBears pitcher Anderson seeks to be Godís instrumentcomment (0)
January 17, 2013
By Bill Sorrell
The biggest hit in Chase Anderson’s life wasn’t from a batter he was opposing; it came from a life-changing phone call.
When Anderson was in spring training preparing for the 2012 season he was notified March 19 that his father, Robert Dale Anderson, had died of a massive heart attack. He was 58.
“It was another surreal feeling. It was like a dream,” said Anderson, who boarded a flight in Arizona for Fort Smith, Ark., where his father had moved to take a new job.
“It was weird walking into the house with him not there. Going into the backyard, I shed some pretty big tears,” said Chase Anderson, a pitcher for the Mobile BayBears.
His father and mother, Michelle Anderson Hyde, divorced when Chase Anderson was 12 and he chose to live with his father.
“The things we had in life were pretty surreal. It was me and him. We did everything together.”
His father told him that hard work and perseverance would take him wherever he wanted to go.
“Each day there are good things and bad things. You’ve got to take the positive and understand that the Lord has a plan for you. Having a relationship with Christ will get you through anything,” said Chase Anderson, 25.
It was the second time Chase Anderson had to go through the death of a family member. His grandmother, Annette Harris Anderson, died in August 2009. She fell off a step at her home in Wichita Falls, Texas, and died seven hours later from bleeding on the brain.
As well as role models, they are “both big-time icons,” Chase Anderson said. “Both of them are very strong people. I guess you say that is the motivation every day now.”
A right-hander, Chase Anderson finished the 2012 season with a 5–4 record and a 2.86 ERA. He struck out 97 batters. He helped lead Mobile to its second straight Southern League championship with a change-up pitch that has been rated the best in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization.
Chase Anderson was drafted in the ninth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Oklahoma (OU) where he played three years. It was in 2009 that Annette Anderson led him to Christ.
Before he pitches he reads the Bible that belonged to her. “It’s like gold to me. I keep it with me all the time. It’s like having her with me,” said Chase Anderson, who went to church with her at Floral Heights United Methodist Church, Floral Heights, Texas, and also attended Colonial Baptist Church, Wichita Falls, Texas. He now attends the Village Church, Dallas, Texas.
“I would say I am more of a Baptist Christian. You try to live for the Lord and give Him all the glory in everything you do, whether it’s on the field or off the field.”
The loss of his father and grandmother did not strike him out.
Turner Ward, who managed the BayBears last season, said, “You would have never known he has been through this type of a tragedy.”
Chase Anderson said, “If I don’t have a smile on my face, something is wrong. ... The Lord and the relationship you have with Him is just huge.”
Chase Anderson, who attends Scottsdale Bible Church when he plays in Arizona, said his life has changed “day and night” since becoming a Christian.
Matt Davidson, a third baseman for Mobile, called Chase Anderson a “great guy” who “follows the Word. He is a positive guy all the time and he is a great pitcher. He is a great guy in the clubhouse with a great vibe.”
Chase Anderson also prays during morning devotionals. “He is right there with me. You are never by yourself. I miss my dad. I miss my grandmother. That is kind of a selfish thing. I miss them but I know where they are. They are in heaven and enjoying the time up there.”
Robert Anderson encouraged Chase Anderson to become a “man of God, do the right thing, treat people the right way and live the Christian life,” Chase Anderson said.
While describing himself as a laid-back, Southern, Texas boy who would love to be a country singer and has a tradition of washing his 2012 Ford truck once a week, Chase Anderson is a warrior on the mound, he said. He can throw his change-up on any count. At Rider High School in Wichita Falls, he was all-state as a senior and tossed three no-hitters, had a .50 ERA and a 12–1 record and was the district MVP. His 155 strikeouts were the most in Texas in Class 4–A in 2006. He led OU his junior season in appearances and went 2–1 in the Big 12.
Chase Anderson became engaged in December to Anna Cameron of Wichita Falls.
With a goal of being a “good person first and foremost,” Chase Anderson said he wants “to give my all to the guys on this team each time I go out.”
He represented Mobile in the Southern League All-Star game when he was named a mid-season all-star in 2012. He also was selected to play in the Arizona Fall League (AFL). He went 3–1 with the Salt River Rafters with a 3.47 ERA and was named AFL Rising Star.
“Hopefully I’ll get to the big leagues and have a good career there,” Chase Anderson said. “The Lord is in control. He is going to take me where I need to go.”