Tim Anderson pushes to lead and inspire: ‘His spirit is infectious,’ Tony La Russa says

If we want to call Tim Anderson the face of the White Sox’ franchise, we may. It’s cool with him. If we don’t, no worries.

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DETROIT — If we want to call Tim Anderson the face of the White Sox’ franchise, we may. It’s cool with him. If we don’t, no worries.

The Sox’ star shortstop is going to be who he is off the field, and if that, coupled with the vast talent he displays on it, makes him not just the man in the middle of the infield but the man on the South Side, it’s all good.

“It’s nothing like, ‘Hey, I need to be that, I need this to happen,’ ” Anderson said in a conversation with the Sun-Times this weekend. “But if I just keep being me, standing on what I believe in, then I’m happy in my spot where I’m at, where my feet are. And that’s cool, too.”

Anderson is part great player, great attitude, great teammate, great leader. His feet are firmly planted on the floor of the Sox’ clubhouse, where manager Tony La Russa needs him as a leader.

With his voice, and by example.

“I’m going to keep pushing,” Anderson said, echoing perhaps his most common refrain.

Push, push, push. Bring it every day.

“I’m going to keep leading and be an example, leading and inspiring people and making my teammates better,” he said.

The Sox improved to 40-24 with a 15-2 rout of the Tigers on Saturday, and it was Anderson who started the proceedings with a hustle double leading off the game against Jose Urena. He collected three hits in five at-bats and scored three runs. His two-run single on a 101-mph line drive in the fifth inning caused Danny Mendick on second to dive to the ground before getting back up to score.

There were concerns that Anderson, part of baseball’s new breed, might not mesh with La Russa, a prized pupil in baseball’s old school. But La Russa has had nothing but praise for Anderson, from spring training on. 

“What I’ve learned is he has a gift and burning desire to win,” La Russa said Saturday, “and he communicates to his teammates and does it in a real positive way.

“I’ve got to be careful saying this because I’ve had outstanding, winning players along the way on our teams, but to play with his vocal and spirit, it’s the best I’ve ever been around. He brings it every single day, from the time he gets to the park, before the game, during the game, even after the game.

“He has great spirit, and it’s all about wanting his team to win. That’s the best motivation there is, and it’s infectious with our team.”

Anderson, in turn, has wisecracked about La Russa being the dad that the kids don’t listen to, but it’s obvious he respects La Russa.

“Tony is good. He’s awesome, man,” Anderson said. “I can go in and talk to him about whatever. He has a game plan. He knows his stuff. You want to learn from him, a Hall of Fame manager like him. Why wouldn’t you talk about things he’s experienced and things he went through?

“It’s definitely been great. We’ve been getting along fine, we’re one big happy family. We’re trying to keep the clubhouse great, keeping all the noise out, because we know what the ultimate goal is. We’re all pushing for the same thing.”

The Sox’ push continued with their seventh win in the last nine games and 12th in their last 16. They are 16-2 in their last 18 games against the Tigers and 28-9 since 2019.

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