R.I.P. Sparky Anderson

As youve probably heard by now, Sparky Anderson passed away Thursday at age 76 at his home in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Look for full coverage, including Tigers reactions, at MLB.com and tigers.com.

12 Comments

That is so sad! Sparky was a huge part of baseball to me! Rest in Peace Sparky! Condolences to the family!

Known as Captain Hook for his quickness in pulling a struggling pitcher, Sparky mercifully received a quick hook himself from the Big Manager Above.
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R.I.P Sparky.

Sparky was the greatest Tiger manager of all-time. His personality and heart will be missed. RIP Sparky. GO TIGERS!

The 1984 season was one of the highlights of my life–watching the Tigers win the World Series. Sparky was the best. He made it all happen, and you’ll note that many of the players gives HIM the credit for coaching them into being great ballplayers! He was a great manager and a great guy. You couldn’t help but like him. I’m sad! RIP.

This post from another thread seems more appropriate here:
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Let me first say that Detroit has had only a handful of “Superstars” over the the course of my lifetime.
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Sparky Anderson was one of them.
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He was a true genius as a manager. One who could handle the biggest names in the game as well as the ones who needed more mentoring and cultivating.
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This must be a dreadful time for Carol and the Anderson children.

Let me first say that Detroit has had only a handful of “Superstars” over the the course of my lifetime.
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Sparky Anderson was one of them.
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He was a true genius as a manager. One who could handle the biggest names in the game as well as the ones who needed more mentoring and cultivating.
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This must be a dreadful time for Carol and the Anderson children.

Sparky, you’ve been a favorite of ours since we watched the Tigers at the old stadium in the 60′s. Now you’re in heaven with the Lord and we’ll see you again up there. Peace and blessings now to your wonderful family.

What a truly sad day. My heart goes out to Sparky’s family. I remember meeting Sparky at Tiger Stadium in 1984; my friend, Groundskeeper Charles Lebot let us stay after a game. He brought Sparky to the door, opened it, and marveled at our dropped jaws at seeing Sparky. He was so nice to my family. My childhood love was the Detroit Tigers. I lived and breathed Detroit Tiger Baseball, and Sparky Anderson was a big reason for making me the person I am today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Rest in Peace, Sparky.
Kris Willson

Bless you Sparky.

Sparky was my first Tigers manager. The first year I watched baseball was 1987 (still waiting for the next division title…). He could be friendly or fiery, he could live up to his Captain Hook nickname one day and encourage the starter to go all 9 the next. He got me excited about the certain Hall of Fame careers of Scott Lusader, Torey Lovullo and Clint Sodowsky. In short, he burned into my mind what a baseball manager should be. Thank you, Sparky, for helping make me into the diehard Tigers fan I am today. I hope you and Ernie are sharing some great stories wherever you are.

Sparky Anderson took over the reins of the Detroit Tigers in 1979. He was blessed with a great baseball mind and he could see the young talent in the Tiger system poised and ready to win. Trammell, Whitaker, Gibson, Parrish, Morris, Petry, and Tommy Brookens whom I remember reading Sparky had a special place in his heart for. Ron LeFlore, Hiller, A. Rodriguez, Kemp, and believe it or not Fidrych and Rusty Staub were still there. I left out a lot but google the 1979 Tiger roster to see the other guys.
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I believe I remember Sparky predicting a title in 5 years. He got that right. After the great 1968 Tigers, they had a couple more good years when Billy Martin managed. But after Mr. Tiger, my all time favorite, Al Kaline retired in 1974, they struggled in mediocrity and worse. Except for the great Mark Fidrych story and nearly as great Ron LeFlore story, the 70′s were not good years. I was pretty saddened after Al Kaline retired and lost a good deal of interest in following the Tigers…. And it was the 70′s.
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I wasn’t much of a Big Red Machine Fan but it seemed like most of the young kids were. We Americans love to back winners and kids learn that early. That was a powerful team. Sparky would never take any credit for any of his success. He would say that he was just blessed with the horses. He was, but he apparently knew what to do when blessed with that talent.
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I was never a big Sparky fan until he became the Tiger’s manager. Then I was ecstatic. We finally had a nationally recognized leader. As Dan correctly stated, he was a superstar and he was now a Tiger. Because of Sparky we got more national coverage than ever before and it was fun. In a way it was disappointing that the Tigers just never could even come close to repeating the magic of 1984. His Reds teams were actually more talented teams than the Tigers as most of those finished near .600 after he took over in 1970.
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Sparky will always be my all time favorite manager. I am sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as I’m sure all of yours have. He will be missed.
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I have rambled long enough but just wanted to add a little story. I know a couple in my small home town here in western NY, who had the providential chance to have met him after a game. I can’t remember the circumstances or the season, but they were Yankee fans and somehow met him after a Tiger game. After talking with him for a while, they actually started up a bit of a baseball friendship. In the following years he would always take the time to meet and talk with them in visiting ballparks as they would let him know when they were attending a game. He even would occasionally send them tickets. Once, when the wife of the couple had surgery, Sparky actually sent her flowers. To be honest, I was always jealous that they just fell into this friendship. But I was always happy for them. I suspect Sparky had a great number of people he cared about and took the time to make them feel special.
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Hey Rich, by the way, thanks for the tip on the mlb post season package. I did purchase the $9.95 ticket. It turned out to be kind of weird but better than nothing. You could pick from 6 different views but there was no fast switch between them, so I ended up watching mostly the camera view from behind home. I watched limited playoff baseball but all of the WS once I could watch on TV. Haven’t posted in a while but am faithfully reading. This should make up for it.

Here are my thoughts about sparky:
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150307537940282

Bless You Sparky, and Thank You

I was 15 years-old and the very advanced Summer team I was playing with had the privilege of going to old Tiger Stadium and meeting the Tigers to see what it was all about. We met a lot of the players, Morris and Petry, Steve Kemp and Brookens, who were real hosts, Parrish and Gibson shook our hands, Trammel and Whitaker looked in on us in the side room and said hi. We met Richie Hebner and of course Dave Rozema, who was the life of the party. We even got to very briefly meet Ernie. “I can’t stay boys, they need me in the booth, but it is great to see some of the next great Tigers!”, he said.

And Sparky. Sparky hung out with us. He stayed with us in that little side room from the time we got there until they shooed us off so they could get down to business. He was real, he was baseball, he saw us as baseball players, and we were baseball players. He just loved the whole thing. He embodied it, and the moment was not lost on him. He was short in stature, and I was 6’4″, he came up to my chest. He walked right up to me, about 4 inches away from me and looked up into my face and he said “You looking for a job kid?”.

Sparky Anderson asks a 15 year-old kid if he needs a job, and that kid has one of the best season’s of his life.. You better believe it. When a guy knows the right thing to say, to the right person, at the right time; you can’t teach that.

Thanks Skip. You are a prized and special jewel who we will all miss. You fought for our Tigers and you made us all winners. I do not want to imagine what those years of my life would have been like without that very special experience to keep me going.

Bless You Sparky, and Thank You. You are loved and you are missed.

And thanks Skip, the other Skip, the Manager of that Summer team I was on all those years ago, the Skipper who afforded me that opportunity to meet Sparky and the rest of those great Tigers. ?

“Go be good ballplayers, play the game the right way” – S.A.

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