TA carrying Negro Leagues' message to kids

August 16th, 2020

CHICAGO -- During a morning Zoom session, was asked to select his favorite players from the Negro Leagues as Major League Baseball celebrated the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues across the game on Sunday.

The White Sox shortstop named Cool Papa Bell and, of course, Jackie Robinson, before stopping his list in mid-sentence.

“Really, all of them. I look up to them,” Anderson said. “If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be here today. So, everybody, you know I can't forget them.”

Anderson has become a national figure over the past year, on the strength of winning the American League batting title with a .335 average in 2019 and his bat flip celebratory flare following home runs. Along with his wife, Bria, he also is giving back to the Chicago area through his Anderson’s League of Leaders foundation, launched in 2017.

In 2019, he hosted a watch party for the Robinson movie, "42," for members of the White Sox Amateur City Elite youth baseball program. And in 2018, Anderson funded a trip for ACE players to the Negro Leagues Museum. It was a trip that meant just as much to Anderson.

“Definitely a dope experience. It’s a learning experience,” Anderson said of the visit. “I learned things I never knew about those guys that played back in the Negro Leagues. It was only right I shared the information I had and spread it amongst those kids. Those kids are going to remember it forever, whether they do pick up a baseball or they don’t. At least they have some type of baseball memory.”

“If anybody ever has a chance, and they want to see a part of our history, a part of our growth, that would be a great place for people to visit,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “It's very enlightening, and you can see how the social fabric at a particular time was built around the Negro Leagues.”

Sunday’s celebration featured players, managers, coaches and umpires across MLB wearing a symbolic Negro Leagues 100th anniversary logo patch. The White Sox had a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” following the national anthem and remembered iconic Negro Leaguers such as Andrew “Rube” Foster, Minnie Miñoso, Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe and Robinson, displaying commemorative cutouts of the men in the seats located near the White Sox dugout.

Videos honoring the Negro Leagues were to be shown in between innings at Guaranteed Rate Field, and the ACE program held safe, socially distanced tryouts. The ACE travel program was started by the White Sox in ’07 to help reverse the decline of Black participation in baseball -- but maybe even more importantly, help these same kids succeed overall through baseball.

Anderson, as the only Black player on the White Sox roster, is working with a similar message. But his focus simply falls upon being himself.

“I stay within myself and do things that I think that are cool,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, that rubs off on those kids. I just take it a day at a time and continue to be myself, and hopefully that will draw kids to the game, and hopefully we can continue to make the game grow in the right way and the right direction.”

Third to first
• Renteria said right-handed pitcher Dane Dunning is a candidate for Wednesday’s current TBA start against the Tigers. Dunning, the No. 8 White Sox prospect, per MLB Pipeline, currently is working at the team’s alternate training site in Schaumburg, Ill.

“Is it possible? Yeah,” Renteria said. “I know that we're going to continue to go through these next few days and see how it all plays out. But I wouldn't discount it.”

• The White Sox 2-8 start at home is tied for the third-worst start in franchise history (1-9 in 1940 and '48), per STATS.

• Reynaldo López, on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder soreness, is scheduled to throw again Monday in Schaumburg.

They said it
“That's normal, that's normal. That happens on winning and losing teams. Some guys try to do too much. The goal is for us to stay within ourselves and not worry about the expectations of what people are putting on us and make ourselves happy. If we make ourselves happy and go out and play the way that we want to play and be happy with those results, it will take care of itself.” -- Anderson, on White Sox players pressing to do too much

“I mentioned when we hit in the zone we hit .400, and we also hit with significant more slug. So, it goes back to making sure you stay in your zone and maximizing each one's individual zone to get maximum output.” -- Renteria, on getting more consistent production from power hitters such as Yasmani Grandal, Nomar Mazara, Edwin Encarnación and José Abreu