BOSTON - Marlon Anderson has learned that you can't win for losing.
Anderson spent the 2003 season with the Devil Rays, playing almost every day, putting up some of the best numbers of his career, losing 99 games and starting the offseason early.
Anderson spent the 2004 season with the Cardinals, playing only occasionally, putting up mediocre numbers, winning 105 games and starting Game 2 of the World Series at DH.
"I feel better right now than I did last year playing every day, I can tell you that right now," Anderson said.
"I've played every day and had my stats and whatever, but you lose 99 games and come October you're headed home. This year I had only 250 at-bats, but I had some big pinch-hit home runs that helped win some games, I made some big defensive plays, I was able to contribute in different areas. The bottom line was that we won 105 games and I felt like I was a tremendous part of the team."
Let go by the Rays, Anderson signed with the Cardinals figuring he had a shot to be their starting second baseman. That changed when they acquired Tony Womack in a spring training trade, but Anderson remained in manager Tony La Russa's plans as a valuable utility man and remained upbeat.
"I think that was one of the neatest things that happened on our club, because he came in to contest for a regular second-base job, and then we had a chance at Tony, and I've seen that happen on our club and other clubs: A guy goes in a 180-degree different direction and just pouts and he's a problem and you have to get rid of him, or you just keep him and he's just negative," La Russa said.
"I think we all have admired how mentally tough he dealt with it. It isn't a fun job, but it was on a good team, and he probably enjoyed that part of it."
Anderson played in 113 games, mostly as a reserve. He made 25 starts at second, 24 in the outfield and one at DH. He even filled in a couple of times at first base.
Sunday night, he started at DH, primarily because of his familiarity with Boston starter Curt Schilling (3-for-10 with no strikeouts, and a stint as teammates in Philadelphia) and his speed. He may get more playing time as the Series goes on depending on the condition of Womack, who is trying to stay in the lineup despite being struck on the collarbone by a ball during Saturday's game and experiencing severe back spasms.
Like the rest of the Cardinals, Anderson couldn't do much with Schilling, going 0-for-2 against him and leaving for pinch-hitter So Taguchi in the seventh.
Last year with the Rays, Anderson had the security of a somewhat regular job. This year, he has something better.
"I've played a little bit of everything, which is pretty amazing," Anderson said. "Nothing beats that winning feeling, going out and having that chance to win every day."