Death of a parent is a life-changing experience. However, through our grief, we often have a closer encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. Chase Anderson, a starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, had one such spiritual experience.
Chase grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas. His father went to the United Methodist Church growing up; and when he was young, Chase often went with his grandmother there. Later, as he got older, he would also attend the Colonial Baptist Church.
When Chase was in middle school, he attended a summer church camp at South Padre Island. “While at church camp, I accepted Christ into my life,” shares Chase, “I really didn’t understand fully what it meant to be a Christ follower and how to go about it in my daily life.”
About the same time, Chase’s parents, Robert and Michele, divorced when he was 12 years old. “I have an awesome family,” Chase explains, “I have two sisters, Abby and Jennifer, a half-brother, Ben, and stepsiblings, Zach and Britney, and stepfather, Kevin Hyde.”
Chase went to S.H. Rider High School in Wichita Falls, and he became friends with Anna Cameron, who was a year and a half older than he.
They grew up a short distance from each other, having the huge high school building physically between them, but they did not know each other until high school.
At Rider High School Chase played baseball for the Raiders; and as a senior, he pitched three no-hitters. Upon graduating from high school in 2006, he was drafted in the 42nd round by the Minnesota Twins. He did not sign, and he chose to attend North Central Texas College, a junior college in Gainesville, Texas. He was again drafted by the Twins in 2007 in the 40th round. Chase again decided not to sign. He would attend the University of Oklahoma where he played baseball for two years. Chase was drafted in 2009 by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the ninth round, and he signed. He began his journey through the D-Backs minor league system.
In 2011, Chase met up again with Anna, and they renewed the friendship. Chase hoped he could get to know her better. In 2012, while Chase was in the minor leagues, he would come to realize how important that friendship really was.
“My dad was everything to me,” Chase comments, “we did everything together. We worked together, and we traveled all over the country playing baseball with my travel ball team. He enjoyed seeing me play the game. But in 2012, my father passed away from a heart attack.”
As Chase worked through his grief, he also reassessed his personal faith and began to understand what it means to follow and serve Christ. “I recommitted my life to Christ. My grandmother left me a Bible which I read before each start different verses that help me understand how I am to live on a daily basis as a Christian.” Chase continues, “The Lord does not care about our works and our efforts to ‘earn’ our salvation. It is all about Him giving His Son, Jesus, to pay for all the sins we committed in the past, present, and in the future. It is all about Grace which is freely given.”
During this time of loss, his friend, Anna, was there for Chase. Anna was a huge help providing comfort and understanding during a tough time in his life. Soon after, their relationship changed from friendship to romance. After the Fall Baseball League and as Christmas rolled around, Chase took Anna on a carriage ride and asked her to marry him. He became a part of another awesome family in Anna’s wonderful family. The following November 16, 2013, they were married. Three years later now, they are expecting their first child in November, 2016. Their off-season home is in McKinney, Texas, and they attend the Village Church in Plano.
Pastor Steve Sonderman, chaplain for the Brewers, comments, “From the moment I first got together with Chase at spring training (2016), I could tell he had a deep hunger for God’s Word, a love for Jesus and his beautiful wife, Anna. God is working powerfully in this young man’s life and I know that God has wonderful plans in store for Chase and his family.”
Anderson, who went to the Philippines the last two off-seasons with Unlimited Potential Inc. (UPI) on mission trips where they work baseball camps and share their personal Christian testimonies and spread God’s Word, has a favorite Scripture verse: Proverbs 21:31 which says, “The horse is made ready for battle, but the Victory belongs to the Lord.” Chase shares, “This is a verse I recite before I pitch. My AA manager, Andy Green, now the San Diego Padres’ manager, shared this verse. I thought, Wow!” He goes on to explain, “I prepare and do all the things necessary the four days between starts and prepare the right way for the Lord. When I get on the mound, the results and the victory is all for Christ. It is all the glory for Him.”
Chase was in AA in 2012; and in 2013, he was in AAA but pitched poorly. Then in 2014, he started in AA where he met up with Green for six starts, but he was moved up to the big leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chase got his major league debut May 11, 2014.
Brewer teammate, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, comments, “Chase has been very consistent since the day I met him in spring training. I heard a lot of good things about him from a mutual friend who plays for the Tampa Bay Rays, who went on the same mission trip this past off-season. What I have seen is a consistent walk with the Lord and a steady personality in the clubhouse.”
Chase claims Christ has shaped his life mainly from the loss of his father. Chase comments, “When dad died, I could have chosen to go down the path of rebellion and destruction or to follow Christ. I feel Christ picked me up because He knew I needed Him and to fill the void I had.” He adds “I dove into the Word of God through Bible studies and reading devotionals trying to learn what God wants me to know about His Son, Jesus, and His Kingdom. The most important message was to be obedient to Christ. He wants us to be obedient and to love him, and He wants us to come to him when we have troubles.”
Jeremiah 29:11 reinforces God’s goodness for His children, and it is one Anderson likes. “For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the
Lord,’ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Chase explains, “When the Lord says that to you through his Word, He does not want harm to come to us. God has plans for us that bring hope for our future. He loves us because we are his children.”
“When I first met Chase,” shares Jonathan Lucroy, All Star catcher for the Brewers, “He said he was a Christian so I knew we had something in common. We got a chance to visit about our faith, and you could see it every day by the way he talks and acts. Chase is very committed and faithful, and he is a great teammate on our club.”
Everyone has struggles and difficulties in their lives. Chase comments further, “The hardest thing for Believers and all human beings, especially men, is our pride gets in the way often. When we do something wrong, we try to justify the sin or rationalize it. For us in baseball, the baseball lifestyle is so hard because you are always gone so much. Isolation is not good.” He adds, “That’s when I have to get into Scripture or read a good book or do something that’s going to encourage my heart and create that zeal and fire for the Lord.”
Someone who has been around Chase a lot since coming over to the Brewers is Marcus Handel, Brewer bullpen catcher, who states, “Chase is really refreshing, and he is a man totally committed to the Lord. He is one without compromise, and unashamed. You can see in his everyday life he lives for the Lord. It is a joy to watch and see what he does with his life through Christ.”
A personal relationship with Christ is an ongoing process. We are trying to get closer to the Lord each and every day. “The Lord is near. We only have to knock and He is at the door. He will open the door and He will ask us to come in. For me, it is getting into God’s Word daily and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit. God speaks to me when I am in His Word, and days I am not in the Word I have prayer time and know the Lord hears me.” Chase concludes, “God cares about our relationship with Him and how He has a future for me. It is prayer, getting into Scripture daily and understanding you can be a light and salt to others as you spread His Name. My faith means everything to me.”
Written by Bruce Darnall, Lake Mills, WI
Photos by Scott Paulus/ Milwaukee Brewers