He was the target of steroid suspicion after he jumped from 16 home runs in 1995 to 50 in '96 and never hit more than 24 after that, but he'll look you right in the eye and tell you that he has a logical non-anabolic explanation for all of it.
"Dude," he once said, "do you think I didn't like hitting 50 home runs?"
He liked it so much, in fact, that he refused an appendectomy and risked a life-threatening case of peritonitis late in the summer of 1996 to avoid missing a month of the season and the opportunity to be the Orioles' one-and-only 50-homer guy.
The trouble with the era is that everyone will forever remain under suspicion, and Anderson, by virtue of his one hugely anomalous 50-homer season, will never be able to convince everyone that he did it on the up and up.
So he doesn't try. He has never categorically denied anything, because there is no point in it. By the time the Mitchell Report came out and the BALCO investigation was complete, baseball fans had reached the point where they just assumed everybody in baseball who could hit a ball 400 feet was doing something tawdry.
Anderson never made a secret of pushing the envelope nutritionally. He was a proponent of the popular supplement Creatine long before it was a household word, but he also has been known to lecture wannabe body builders around the ballpark on the dangers of other over-the-counter supplements. The guy really does believe that his body is a temple.
It's also important to note that he was never named in any investigation, and he — like Ripken — was never known as a guy who believed in short cuts. Some players say they work out for hours a day. Anderson is 48 and he can be seen lifting in the Orioles new Florida training facility every evening, long after the players are gone.
Beverly Hills 90210
Keep in mind that Anderson wasn't just hugely popular in the '90s because of how he mashed a baseball and palled around with Ripken. Brady was the guy who brought long sideburns back to Baltimore, at least for a while. He was "Beverly Hills, 90210" when the television pilot was still being shopped. He was dancing with the stars before it was a primetime cliche.
Anderson has lived the celebrity life on both coasts. During his playing career, he dated models and tooled around Baltimore with actress Ashley Judd. He was linked to South African tennis star Amanda Coetzer and got schooled on the court by the likes of Pete Sampras and Baltimore's Pam Shriver.
He was running in such rarefied circles that — even after his playing career was over — his face occasionally popped up on TMZ on the periphery of some paparazzi dust-up.
Which brings us to another great contradiction. Anderson is not all that comfortable with public attention. He doesn't hide the fact that he is in the midst of an eight-year relationship with aspiring actress Katie Boskovich (the beautiful French reporter in "The A-Team"), but he never brags about his conquests and seldom talks in detail about his high-profile relationships.
In that respect, he's a little bit old-fashioned, and he bristles at the way today's athletes and celebrities have become obsessed with the pursuit of social media fame.
"I fight for my privacy," he said. "I'm not suggesting the least bit that I was some Brad Pitt-type figure that couldn't come out of his house. I didn't seek it out. ... It's different now. They tweet about themselves. They want to be seen in places. It's all marketing and there's a ton of money involved in it, but there's a certain part of your life — my life, anyway — I wanted private."
The family guy
Here's something that you probably never imagined Brady Anderson doing. The guy who was "The Bachelor" before there was a show called "The Bachelor" has whipped out his smart phone to show off pictures of his 8-year-old daughter, Brianna, who clearly is the love of his life.
"That's the worst part of my job, by the way," he says. "That's the part where I thought I would never work [full-time] in baseball, because I have joint custody of my daughter and that was the biggest battle and it still bothers me. Right now, I want to be with my daughter."
Anderson lives within a mile of his little girl in Los Angeles. She's the reason that he has kept baseball at arm's length since his playing career ended, but she's also the reason that he has returned to baseball with a new sense of purpose.
"My career was already over when she was born and she had never seen me work,'' he says. "I want her to know that her dad has to go to off and work."
Where this new job will take him remains to be seen, but the one thing you never want to do with Brady Anderson is underestimate him. He's the 10th-round draft choice who shocked the world by hitting 50 homers in a season and helped the Orioles to their only two playoff appearances in the last 28 years.
Now, he is back hoping to play a small part — and maybe someday a large one — in the rejuvenation of a once-great franchise that has fallen on very hard times.
Sun reporter Chris Korman contributed to this article.
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