Sparky Anderson passed away yesterday at the age of 76.
I thought he was older. Anderson looked 76 when he managed the Reds.
When I think of Anderson, I first picture him in a Reds uniform. So it is a little surprising to me, as I look at his managerial stats, that he only piloted Cincinnati for 9-seasons. Then he took over the Tigers and managed them for 17-years. Yet I still think of him first with the Reds and then the Tigers. What a mistake for the Reds to not keep Anderson.
I liked Anderson and obviously he was a great manager. But I remember being annoyed at him during the 1976 World Series when he made comments that I felt disparaged Yankees catcher Thurman Munson.
Anderson is another example of a guy who didn't have a great playing career but turned out to be a great manager.
His only season playing in the majors, 1959, he hit just .218 with the Phillies with 104 hits, no home runs and 34 RBI's.
Also, I always find it funny when grown men are referred to as Sparky...or Buck, or any baseball nickname really. If George Lee Anderson wasn't a baseball manager and was a regular businessman, I don't think he would be referred to as Sparky. But in baseball it's alright.
RIP Sparky. A credit to the game and a true Hall of Fame manager.