PHILADELPHIA, Miss. In 2018, Tim Anderson hit .240 during his second season with the Chicago White Sox. Fast forward a season later, he ended the year with a .335 batting average, the highest by any White Sox player since Frank Thomas hit .347 in 1997.
And his award for such accomplishment? Being crowned the 2019 MLB batting champion.
The MLB shortstop was the guest of honor at ECCC baseball’s “Around the Diamond” event on Friday. Before sporting black and white with the White Sox, Anderson wore gold and black as a member of the ECCC baseball team in 2012 and 2013. ECCC was the only offer Anderson received to play baseball after high school.
“It motivated me,” Anderson said. “I always knew where I wanted to be and I knew I just had to continue to work, be coachable and just listen.”
Following his freshman season at ECCC, Anderson received no interest from the MLB, despite batting .360 with four home runs, 37 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 30 attempts on the season.
During his sophomore season, Anderson helped lead the Warriors to a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges State Championship. He led the nation in batting with a .495 average and was named the NJCAA Male Athlete of the Year in 2013. Once that all happened, it became hard for the league to ignore him.
In the 2013 MLB draft, the White Sox selected Anderson in the first round with the 17th overall pick. After spending a few years in the minor leagues, Anderson quickly found his way to the majors, making his MLB debut in June 2016.
“I was so excited. Just to see the smiles on my family’s faces and wife’s face was unbelievable,” Anderson said. “But it didn’t stop there. I had to continue to work to stay and it still doesn’t stop. I gotta keep working and get better.”
For a kid from Tuscaloosa who started playing baseball his junior year of high school, Anderson has come a long way.
“It’s really mind blowing seeing all that he’s accomplished,” ECCC baseball head coach Neal Holliman said. “I know he was disappointed this year when he didn’t make the All-Star Game because he had an injury that held him out for about six weeks where he was on pace to probably make it, but he won the batting title. It's amazing how far he’s come and what he’ll still continue to grow into.”
Although Anderson had a breakout 2019 season, he is looking to be even better in 2020.
“It was an unbelievable season. It definitely played a huge role in where I’m headed to know,” Anderson said. “But I know I’ve got to build off the season and keep going.”