Friday, November 5, 2010

So Long, Sparky Anderson

Sparky Anderson died yesterday at 76 due to complications from dementia. The former Cincinnati Red's manager passed away a day after being placed in hospice care in California.

Anderson, whose real name was George, played one full season of major league baseball and many seasons in the minor leagues before becoming the Reds' manager in 1969. He was relatively unknown when he was hired, and people questioned his hiring until he led the team to the National League pennant in 1970 -- though they lost the World Series in 5 games to the Baltimore Orioles.

Anderson directed the Big Red Machine to back-to-back championships and won another in Detroit during a managing career that spanned three decades. Anderson was the first manager to win World Series titles in both leagues and the only manager to lead two franchises in career wins. Needless to say, he is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"Sparky was, by far, the best manager I ever played for," said Pete Rose. “He understood people better than anyone I ever met. His players loved him, he loved his players, and he loved the game of baseball. There isn't another person in baseball like Sparky Anderson. He gave his whole life to the game."

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