Eddie Jackson was playing at Alabama when he first met the Tuscaloosa kid whom the White Sox drafted in the first round in 2013. When shortstop Tim Anderson came back to the college town to work out in the offseason, the future Bears safety was doing the same during the football season.
“He’s very cool,” Jackson said, “down to earth.”
Jackson has been able to follow Anderson’s career from up close ever since the Bears drafted him two years ago. He threw out the first pitch at Guaranteed Rate Field on Jackie Robinson Day in April — and Anderson had three hits in a victory against the hated Royals.
“He’s bringing the swag to the baseball right now, and it’s fun to watch,” Jackson said Saturday night. “To watch him and all the success he’s having — shout out to him. I really like watching those guys right now.”
Take it from one of the architects of the Bears’ touchdown celebrations: There’s a place for Anderson’s bat-flipping flair even in a stodgy baseball culture.
“It just gives you a confidence — it’s a confidence-builder,” Jackson said. “When your team sees you out there making plays, and they see you out there swaggin’ things up and having fun, they just fall in line. You know they want to do the same thing. That just helps you bring confidence.”
Jackson was talking baseball — and this week’s Crosstown Showdown — while standing behind the plate at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg. He was hosting his first celebrity softball game, with proceeds going to Goodwill and his own Remain to Reach foundation, which provides resources for teenagers looking to rebuild their lives after being jailed.