***The following article was written by Tim Anderson, a shortstop and the current top prospect in the Chicago White Sox system, as a guest of Future Sox. This is part of our ongoing Prospect Perspective series: articles written by the players themselves. Tim's path to professional baseball was anything but commonplace. His appreciation of the unique opportunity he was given keeps him motivated. When you learn more about how he got to where he is today, you may have a different view of his future as well as his past. We hope this gives our readers a unique view into a player's perspective on life in the minors.***
One Chance: Making the most of life
By Tim Anderson
I was four years old when I picked up my first baseball glove. I played throughout my entire childhood, but I never truly took the time to focus on the game of baseball. For much of the time, I was in love with the game of basketball. As a matter of fact, I took time off from baseball my freshman and sophomore years of high school due to two broken leg injuries.
This time in my life was the lowest point in my sports career. I considered throwing in the towel; I just wanted to be done with baseball and basketball. There were many nights where I sat at home and cried to my parents, because I was so tired of getting injured in basketball. Yet, with the support of my family, I never gave up on myself. I kept fighting through this difficult time, and I was able to take advantage of several great opportunities.
I still remember my first baseball game after recovering from my injuries. It was my junior year of high school, and I was told I would only play defense, in left field. I wasn't even in the batting line-up; the pitcher hit for me. As the season progressed, I worked my way up to hitting in the ninth spot. All in all, I finished my junior year with a pretty good season.
Going into my senior year, I was excited for basketball to begin. I earned the starting point guard position at Hillcrest High School. I was so dedicated to basketball that I ended up missing the first half of the baseball season so that I could help my team win the 6A Basketball State Championship. When basketball season came to an end, I went back out to baseball. I had another satisfying season as the starting second baseman.
Toward the end of the season, a friend of mine mentioned my name to the head coach of East Central Community College, Coach Neil Holliman. Coach Holliman came out to see me play numerous times and gave me the opportunity to further my career by playing under him at ECCC.
My freshman year at East Central, I earned the starting spot at shortstop. I ended my first year with 30 stolen bases, a .360 batting average, and 4 home runs. That summer is when I really had a chance to make a name for myself. I had an awesome summer playing in Kansas for the Dodge City A's in the Jayhawk League. There I put up really decent stats.
My sophomore year was such a blessing. It was unreal; I felt like every time I stepped up to the plate, I got a hit. After my first two games where I went 7 for 8 with 3 homers, I knew that I had a real chance to make baseball the sport of my future. I finished my sophomore year at East Central with a .495 batting average and 41 stolen bases.
Overall, there were many rough days at East Central with Coach Holliman; yet, hands down, I can give him all of the credit for my success, even today. He saw potential in me. He molded me to become the man I am today. Each and every day, he pushed me to the max. He would always ask me, "How good do you want to be, son?" The two years I spent with Coach Holliman and the East Central Warriors were the best and toughest years of my life.
After my second year at East Central in June 2013, I was drafted by the White Sox in the first round as the 17th overall pick. That one day alone changed my life forever. Two years before, if someone would have told me I was going to be chosen in the draft, I would have laughed hysterically. I can honestly say the route that got me here was not an easy one at all. I fought through so much adversity just to get where I am now. It's truly a blessing.
Stepping into professional baseball, I have learned many meaningful lessons on and off the field. I have learned that you must always remain focused on your dreams, even if that means losing friends, or even family. There are going to be bad nights, but you have a chance to come out the next day and dominate. Whenever I step onto the baseball diamond, I always play as though I have a chip on my shoulder.
I see and hear all the mix of opinions on my position at shortstop: "he's not a shortstop" and "he needs to be moved to the outfield." These things keep me motivated. They keep me hungry. Everyday I'm inspired to prove everyone wrong. I have been given this one opportunity, and I will do everything I can to take full advantage. After all, one chance, one opportunity, is all it really takes to be all that you can be.
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