New York Mets buy contract of former Bainbridge Bearcat pitcher

Published 3:58 pm Friday, July 7, 2017

Bainbridge baseball coach Scott Miller always said Marty Anderson had a rubber arm.

He was one of those pitchers that could bounce back on short rest. There was just something about him, something gave him the drive and the edge to get on the mound and go to work night after night.

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“He was our workhorse for four years,” Miller said.

Anderson learned early that work ethic pays off. Determination to succeed, to better himself, was ingrained in him.

It has paid off, indeed.

After bouncing around a number of teams since graduating from Bainbridge in 2011, Anderson was picked up by the New York Mets last week. He is playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones, a Short-Season A team based in Brooklyn, New York.

But the journey to get there has been long and winding, full of trials that Anderson had to overcome along the way.

“The journey has been a big game-changer as far as my work ethic goes,” Anderson said. “That’s what it has all been about. Staying healthy and fit and just getting stronger. Working at it every day. Pretty much having the mind set that I need to be better every day.”

Anderson signed a scholarship to play baseball at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in the spring of 2011. Excited to take his left-handed pitching to the next level, the young ball player went full speed into the college world. He came to a halt, though, when the academics were set aside for baseball.

“ABAC gave him a scholarship and he couldn’t do the school scene and came home,” said Anderson’s father, Dan.

Back in Bainbridge but eager to have another shot at playing, he found the Quincy Dodgers, a team in the Georgia-Florida Baseball League. He was an immediate star on the team, and in three years he won three championships. The league was a huge step forward for Anderson. Before he was pitching against 16, 17 and 18 year olds in high school. Now he was pitching against grown men in their mid 20s. The exposure to bigger, stronger talent was a game changer.

He bounced to the Tallahassee Rays, then to the Garden City Wind and became a top pitcher in the Pecos League. Again he moved, this time to the Florence Freedom, then off to the Desert League where he received Most Valuable Pitcher during a season with the Imperial Ghost Riders.

After a stint with the New York Mariners and a strong showing at the Amateur World Series in Orlando, Florida, with 22 strike outs, Anderson returned to the Florence Freedom for spring training. He had a strong showing and worked his way into the starting rotation.

That’s when the Mets became interested.

“My mouth dropped open and Marty dropped to his knees,” Dan said. “I was just speechless. And then we started high-fiving.”

Anderson’s first series as a Brooklyn Cyclone is in Troy, New York, against the Tri-City ValleyCats. Then it’s back to Brooklyn for a home series he hopes to play in.

“I want to accomplish achieving a starting role in this rotation,” Anderson said. ‘Right now I am in the bullpen. (They need to) see if I am good enough to be a starter. I have to go right after hitters and get myself out there.”

Anderson’s journey was long and exhausting, but his talent and skillset was always there to fall back on. If there’s anything to take away from his story so far, it’s to never sell yourself short.

“Knowing if there is some kind of talent they have, that’s a good foundation,” Anderson said about young athletes dreaming of playing in the big leagues one day. “There is something to work on. Don’t sell themselves short. Don’t think they are not good enough because there is more to it once you grow up a little bit.”

Coach Miller, the guy who always believed in Anderson’s rubber arm, is proud of the perseverance his former player has had.

“He has the skillset and the tools to play at a high level,” Miller said. “He was determined to continue to press forward and use his baseball talents and play professionally. He continued to work hard and he grew too. I still think he has a high ceiling.”

“Hard work does pay off. Don’t give up on your dreams. Work hard and good things will happen.”