Anderson honors family with naming of son

The Brewers starter, who wears his father's clothes to games, continuing a legacy

Anderson honors family with naming of son

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers pitcher Chase Anderson is a man of faith, so he figures there's a proud grandfather up there somewhere, smiling down on his family this Thanksgiving.

It will be the Andersons' first holiday as parents. Chase and Anna Anderson had a baby boy earlier this month and named him Robert Hunter, a moniker very special to Chase.

"Robert is my first name, it was my dad's first name and his dad's first name," said Anderson, who goes by his middle name. "We wanted to keep that in the family."

"Hunter" is Anna Anderson's maiden name. They liked the idea of mixing family histories.

"Robert" was an easy choice for Chase, who honors the memory of his father before each home start with a tradition that begins at home when he is getting dressed. Anderson wears the same outfit en route to Miller Park for all of his outings there -- pink polo shirt, light blue jeans, a big belt buckle with the letter "A" and size 12 ostrich-skin boots.

With the exception of the jeans, which were replaced after developing a hole during his first season in the Majors, all of those items once belonged to Anderson's father, the man Anderson credits for his rise to the Major Leagues. Robert Anderson died of a heart attack at age 58 in 2012, two years before his son made it to the Majors with the D-backs.

"My dad was everything to me," Anderson said. "My parents got divorced when I was at a pretty young age, 12 years old, and I chose to live with my dad. My mom has always supported us, but that was probably the best decision I made as a young man, growing up in a home with a father figure who could help me grow up to be a man.

"I'm thankful I had a dad like him. I wouldn't be here without him."

Robert Anderson juggled three jobs to support Chase and his sister. He worked in a fiberglass plant for 35 years in Wichita Falls, Tex., and Fort Smith, Ark. He also had a landscaping business in the summer, and hauled firewood in the winter. Chase Anderson worked with his dad before baseball became a full-time job.

Their last face-to-face visit was during 2012 Spring Training, when Robert Anderson visited in Scottsdale, Ariz. A week later, he passed away.

So, Chase Anderson honors his father's memory every time he pitches at home, scrawling Robert's initials on the mound before throwing his first pitch. The tradition moved from Chase Field to Miller Park after the Brewers acquired Anderson as part of a trade for Jean Segura in January. Anderson expects to continue it as long as the clothes hold out.

"I've seen a lot of his characteristics come out in me, now that I'm growing up and have a son myself," Anderson said. "The name Robert does mean a lot to me.

"Obviously, you're happy having a healthy child, but I really wanted a boy to carry that name on. I hope I can be half the dad my dad was to me, and raise this little man up to be a good person and a God-fearing man, and live a good life. That's all that matters."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.