Blog Entry

One of the all-time greats

Posted on: November 3, 2010 2:22 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 2:22 pm
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Sparky Anderson had his sayings.

Some became famous. Some displayed his brilliant baseball mind. Some made no sense.

And some were just Sparky, like the one he used whenever he saw a group of beat writers covering his team.

"There go three of the all-time greats," he'd say, every single day.

Well, with the news today of Sparky's failing health, it's time to say it back to him. And to mean every word of it.

There goes one of the all-time greats.

It's terribly sad to hear that Sparky has been placed in the care of hospice for complications resulting from dementia, as his family announced today. But for anyone who was fortunate enough to know him, it's also hard to ever think of Sparky without a smile on your face.

He cared about the game, but he also cared about people. Unlike so many celebrities, Sparky didn't show one face to those who could help him and another to those who couldn't.

He was at his best with the kid from the small radio station who walked up asking for an interview, or the bus drivers or flight attendants or clubhouse kids. Sparky's players learned quickly that they'd better pick up after themselves, and they'd better treat those taking care of them with respect.

He understood how to run a clubhouse, just as much as he understood how to run a baseball game. There are managers who are brilliant strategists and managers who are great at dealing with people, but Sparky was both.

And his players will all tell you even today that Sparky taught them to play the game the right way. When Kirk Gibson begins his first spring training managing the Diamondbacks next February, you can bet he'll refer back to Sparky and to everything he learned while playing for the Tigers.

I covered Sparky for the final six of his 27 years as a big-league manager. They weren't his best years; in fact, they included some of his worst.

But I'll always be grateful I had that chance. In many ways, he taught me what a major-league manager is supposed to be.

He truly was one of the all-time greats.

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Category: MLB
Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 8:18 am
 

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 2:29 pm
 

One of the all-time greats




Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:02 pm
 

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 3:28 pm
 

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Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:36 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: November 4, 2010 3:02 pm
 

One of the all-time greats

God Bless old Sparky. A true classic of the game. I was married in Michigan on Oct 13, 1984 the day the Tigers beat the Padres 4-2 and took a 3-1 lead in games. On the 14th they finished them off. Great memories. Thanks, Spark.



Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: November 4, 2010 1:52 pm
 

One of the all-time greats

As a Jays fan growing up in the 80s I saw too much of Sparkys Tigers then I cared for, I still have nightmares from the 87 collapse, get well Sparky!


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