One of the legendary managers in baseball passed away recently. He died at 76 due to complications from dementia.
Sparky Anderson was the first manager to win the World Series as a manager in both leagues. He first did it with the Big Red Machine in 1975 then repeated in 1976. The Cincinnati Reds was one of the most dominant teams in the National League at that time and featured stars Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, and along with George Foster, Cesar Geronimo, Ken Griffey Sr.,and Dave Concepcion. Sparky was able to control big egos by giving stars more space and freedom. He did not subscribe to the idea of treating equally because he believed that stars earned it. He was fired by the Reds when the team have two consecutive 2nd place finishes.
While contemplating where to go next, he received several offers from several major league teams. He decided to manage the Cubs but he signed up with the Detroit Tigers instead. He signed a five year deal and hinted that he will take Tigers to the World Series in that timeframe. And, he did. He led the Tigers to the 1984 World Series crown and making him the first manager to win in both leagues. The 1984 Tigers featured Jack Morris, Kirk Gibson, the double play tandem of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker, Chet Lemon, and reliever Willie Hernandez. The team started a record 35-5. They finished the season with 104 wins and was just one the few teams who won the pennant by leading from the start to the end of the season. They beat the San Diego Padres 4-1 in the series.
After 1984, Sparky Anderson won his last pennant in 1987. During the lockout in 1995, Sparky refused to manage a team made up of replacement players. He was really vocal against it leading to a cold relationship with the new owners of the Tigers. He retired after that season.
Sparky is also remembered for starting a charity called CATCH (Caring Athletes Teamed for Children’s and Henry Ford hospitals). He was elected in the Baseball Hall of Fame in the year 2000. He was remembered by the press as one of the friendliest manager and the most quotable. Here are some of his famous quotes. He dies Nov. 4, 2010 and is survived by his wife Carol, sons Lee and Albert, daughter Shirley Englebrecht, and nine grandchildren.
“I managed 26 years and found out when I retired I didn’t own the game. I thought I owned it when I was managing all those years. You can climb to the top of the mountain, get down on your knees and kiss the ground, because you’ll never own that mountain. That mountain is only owned by one single person, and he’ll never give it up. That’s the way baseball is.” – Spark Anderson
caloycomment: He will definitely be missed. May the Tigers and Reds meet in the World Series next season. Farewell, Sparky!!! 😦
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