Although the shuttle launch being postponed is certainly disappointing, even more upsetting news has taken center stage as former Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson had died following a prolonged battle with dementia. He was a member of the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame inducted in 2000 following a sparkling 26 year managerial career that saw him appear in five World Series and win three of them with two different teams, one in each league. No other manager has ever had such a level of success moving over from the National League to the American League. But Sparky Anderson was able to become a champion with the great Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds teams of the 1970s and the 1984 Detroit Tigers team that started out an astonishing 35 and 5 and coasted to an American League East title on its way to a World Series title.
Captain Hook of Baseball Managers
Sparky Anderson was known as Captain Hook in some circles. This was because of the way he dealt with his pitchers. Even in an era where starters typically went longer than they do in today's game of long relief specialists, he was unafraid to pull his pitcher if he felt that a change was needed. His philosophy seemed to be that it was better to go to the bullpen early than to wait a few too many batters and give up a game changing home run or big hit.
But other than this tendency with the pitchers, Sparky Anderson actually had a way of doing things where he sort of tried to stay out of the way of his stars and let them do their thing. He had great players in both cities, with Pete Rose and Joe Morgan among others in Cincinnati and Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker making up his double play battery in Detroit. Over the years he constantly said he just tried to let the payers play, and he always said he had great players on his teams, which was what he felt was his secret to success. But baseball historians can look at plenty of managers of so called great teams or squads full of great individual performers that never accomplished the ultimate with them, in contrast with the success Sparky Anderson had on both teams.
Sparky Anderson was an iconic figure and the reason some of his players later went on to become coaches and managers of baseball teams once their playing careers were over. He led by example through his passion for the game. He was not above letting an umpire know how he felt about an out call, even if it meant Sparky Anderson got tossed from a game from time to time. He is one of the last of an old generation that is now fading away from the game; with Lou Piniella and Bobby Cox retiring and the game in general turning to a whole group of managers this old guard that was around during the latter parts of the 20th century is soon going to be relegated to the baseball history books and the halls of Cooperstown.
Hall of Fame Legend
Of course, Sparky Anderson is already in Cooperstown, which is right where he belongs after such a great career. Even as he credits his players for all the good that came of his career you see his formula for success: empower the guys on the field to do their best and to reach their fullest potential and good things will happen. Sparky Anderson saw many good things happen when he was manager. His success was incredible, and Sparky Anderson will be missed by car insurance or truck insurance quote consumers and fans.