A former infielder, Sparky Anderson had 17 consecutive winning seasons and ranks third on the all-time managerial win list with 2,194, trailing only Connie Mack and John McGraw. He managed his clubs to a seven first-place finishes and five second-place finishes. His post-season record was a terrific 34-21, with three World Championships to his credit.
He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers out of high school and spent six years in the minors before finally getting a shot at the majors. He spent a year as Philadelphia's regular second baseman in 1959, but didn't hit well enough to stick. Anderson quit playing in 1964 and after five years in the minor leagues, he was named manager of the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 1970 season. Under his tutelage, the Big Red Machine averaged more than 100 wins per season from 1972 through 1976, and won the World Series in 1975 (in a dramatic, close Series over the Red Sox) and 1976 (a dominating sweep of the Yankees).
He left the Reds in 1978, joined the Detroit Tigers in mid-season and guided them to a winning record in each of his first 10 years there. The highlight was 1984, when he inspired a Tigers team led by Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, and Lou Whitaker to lead from pole-to-pole and defeat the the San Diego Padres in the World Series.
"Sparky came here two years ago promising to build a team in his own image.
Now the club is looking for small, white haired infielders with .212 batting averages."
Detroit Sportscaster Al Ackerman
"I only had a high school education and believe me, I had to cheat to get that."
"I've changed my mind about it (DH) - instead of being bad, it stinks."
baseball manager is a necessary evil."
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