â€œMy Daddy said â€˜it will never cost you a dime son to be nice.’ I will never forget that. I was eleven years old and I will die with that because that means so much to me.â€
~ George “Sparky” Anderson
Wikipedia says that Sparky Anderson, who passed away yesterday at the age of 76, was the first manager to win a World Series for both a National League and American League team and that he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. His plaque notes his sunny disposition and says:
His career totals include 2,194 victories, the third most in Major League history, two Manager of the Year Awards, five league pennants and three World Series crowns. His heavy use of the bullpen staff earned him the nickname “Captain Hook,” but this practice has now become the standard for Major League Baseball.
The quotation above (and photo) came from the Detroit Athletic Co. blog, and Bill Dow has a nice piece entitled Special Moments & Thoughts from Sparky Anderson. Samara at Roar of the Tigers has created a tribute image and Bless You Boys has a solid roundup of articles about Sparky that you should check out including this Joe Posnanski column in Sports Illustrated about George and Sparky and a Detroit News column by Tom Gage that has a huge collection of memories of Sparky from players and friends such as fellow Tiger Hall of Famer Al Kaline who says:
“Sparky was one of the greatest people I’ve met in baseball. He was a leader to his players both on and off the field. He was an incredible person and I cherish the time I was able to spend with him. He was a great leader and a great baseball man.”
Mitch Albom writes that losing Sparky is like losing one of the family and Ian Casselberry rightfully drills the Tigers organization for their shameful failure to retire Sparky’s number, noting that he managed the Tigers from 1979-1995 and his 1,331 wins are the most in franchise history.
The Daily Fungo has gathered some great videos of Sparky Anderson that you’ll want to check out including Sparky on WKRP in Cincinnati and this hilarious piece with Chuck Daly and Sparky. We also found a cool photo tribute, but the best piece out there right now is from the 25th anniversary of the 1984 Tigers with team members including Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell.