- Mark Saxon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Anderson holds most of the Angels' key offensive records, including games played (2,013), hits (2,368) and RBIs (1,292), but he was never as warmly embraced by Anaheim fans as a teammate whose numbers Anderson eventually surpassed, Tim Salmon.
Anderson acknowledged Tuesday that some of that could have stemmed from his laidback playing style. Anderson rarely dove for balls while playing the outfield and had a loose, relaxed style in the batter's box. He also was among the best players in the American League for more than a decade.
"I don't think I was misunderstood. I know I was misunderstood," Anderson said. "I've had enough conversations over the years and, looking back at all those conversations and what was written about me, I know I've been misunderstood."
Anderson said he had offers from teams this spring, but would have had to sign a minor league contract.
"I could never be in a position hoping a player gets hurt," Anderson said.
A three-time All-Star, Anderson, 38, was a .293 lifetime hitter, who averaged 21 home runs, 38 doubles and 99 RBIs between 1994 and 2010. He broke into the big leagues at 22 and finished his career as a bench player for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year.
Like Salmon, Anderson had hoped to play his entire career as an Angel, but the team didn't offer him a contract to his liking after the 2008 season and he signed with the Atlanta Braves.
"I don't know if I really have come to terms with that yet," Anderson said.
Anderson's biggest hit was a three-run double in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. Anderson was the key cog in a deep Angels lineup that led them to their only world championship that season. He led the league with 56 doubles and drove in a career-high 123 runs. He finished fourth in MVP balloting that year.
"Garret was an incredible player, one with a calm demeanor and quiet confidence that allowed him to excel in this game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said in a statement. "Garret's role in where the Angels organization is today cannot be overstated."
Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
10hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com