The baseball community recently lost one of its most recognizable living Hall of Famers, Sparky Anderson. Anderson, who led the Cincinnati Reds to two World Championships and the Detroit Tigers to one, died November 4 at age 76.
He managed the Reds from 1970 to 1978 and the Detroit Tigers from 1979 to 1995. He led his teams to 2,194 total victories, against only 1,834 losses. In addition to the three World Championships, he also headed the Reds to two more National League Pennants.
Anderson was one of the most well-known and well-liked managers of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He also dispensed many recognizable quotes in his time, including, “Every 24 hours the world turns over on someone who was sitting on top of it,” “a baseball manager is a necessary evil,” and “I only had a high school education and believe me, I had to cheat to get that.”
Not everyone knows that before Anderson managed successfully, he played in the big leagues for one season, 1959. A 25-year-old second baseman with the Philadelphia Phillies, Anderson hit only .218 in 152 games, stealing six bases and hitting no home runs. Despite an unimpressive single-year career, Anderson holds multiple playing records—including the most games played by someone whose career lasted only one season.
Sparky Anderson was a good manager—and a good man—who was liked and respected by players and fans alike. In this age of prima donna celebrities who eschew signing autographs and valuing the fans, Anderson was always willing to scribble a signature for those who asked.
And now, he lies in the great eternal slumber. Rest in peace, Mr. Anderson.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Hall of Fame, Philadelphia Phillies