Sparky Anderson passed today. He was a legend in baseball and a talented manager. Among his skills were an ability to pump up his own team and have them reach great heights; cast his team as an underdog even when Sparky’s club was the better; and change pitchers so often he became known as captain Hook.
In my life, I`ve learned a lot from the beautiful game of baseball and from the men who manage big league teams. My favorites are Whitey Herzog and Earl Weaver, two men who arrived at victories in completely different ways, and Sparky Anderson was unique in his own way.
Born in a small town (Bridgewater, SD) a major league player for one complete season (only to never play again in the show) and a big league manager at age 36 and 61 and every year in between. I`ll remember his enthusiasm and his ridiculous “aw shucks” delivery while his Tigers were ripping the heart out of the Blue Jays in the final days of the 1987 season.
I’ll remember him for his appearances on WKRP in Cincinnati and for teaching me about baseball, and the valuable lesson about fresh arms (in the mid-70′s he turned the baseball world on its ear with an exceptional bullpen he used early and often). He will be remembered for his charity and his success as a baseball manager.
Sparky Anderson will be remembered for a long, long time.