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Sparky Anderson


RIP Sparky. Not a surprise given reports yesterday about Anderson being placed in hospice care. Sparky’s passing will be mourned in both Cincinnati and Detroit.

Has any other player ever received as many as 527 plate appearances in his rookie season, and never played in another major league game? 42 walks in 527 PA is actually kind of impressive from someone who hit .218 and slugged .249…

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  • mark f

    Holy shit, he was only 76? I thought he was 80 back in 1988.

  • Davis

    One of the great baseball guys.

    He played all but two games that year. Either he was a great fielding second baseman or the ’59 Phillies really stunk.

  • wengler

    The worst players seem to be the best managers. Probably because they know what they can teach and what they can’t.

    • Robert Farley

      John McGraw was a very good player.

      Joe Torre; also very good player.

      Miller Huggins; very interesting player, anyway.

      I do think that someone (Bill James?) has suggested that there might be a connection between ability to draw walks and good management. Huggins and McGraw, and even Anderson at the margin, would be evidence in favor of that proposition. But then Ted Williams was a pretty terrible manager. Eddie Stanky wasn’t particularly distinguished. Other examples?

      • Bill Murray

        Ted Williams was a pretty good manager for a year, then the fact that he was a total asshole got in his way.

        There are 17 managers in the Hall; McGraw is the only one that was a good hitter; 3 never played MLB (Rube Foster counts as a good player but in the Negro Leagues) Alston played 1 game; Lasorda pitched in 26 games; Stengel, Huggins and Harris were the only ones able to get their OPS above ~700.

        Thus 4 of the 14 (28%) that were non-pitchers were better than average hitters and 2 of 17 were star players

      • wengler

        I knew someone would bring up Joe Torre. I’m sure Ron Gardenhire could’ve won some World Series with those Yankees teams too. Not that I’m saying Gardenhire is the best manager in the world. Just saying if you are going to have a stacked team, it always makes you look like a better manager than you are(see 2010 Dodgers).

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  • LosGatosCA

    Sparky was prepared and decisive. He got a lot out of a mediocre pitching staff in Cincy because he knew the situations and his players and when it was time, Captain Hook came out.

    He was the same way in personal relationships with the players. If someone didn’t measure up in off the field behavior – gone. Never looked back.

  • That 43 OPS+ is pretty fantastic.

    Also, was Sparky known as Captain Hook because of managerial tendencies or because his own manager also pinch hit for him?

    • Bill Murray

      It’s fantastic if you’re Bill Bergen. 947 games, 0.395 career OPS, 21 career OPS+

  • Also, Sparky always looked like he was 20 years older than he actually was. Even that baseball card of his makes him look far older than 25. He was in his 40s managing the Big Red Machine, yet looked like he was 60. Maybe it was dealing with Pete Rose and listening to Joe Morgan compare everyone unfavorably to Tony Perez.

  • Kurzleg

    Funny quote by Sparky in a book called “All-Star Baseball 1977” or something. It listed that year’s All-Star team, and George Foster was one of the outfielders. He hit 52 homers that year (1st to top 50 since ’61), to which Sparky imagined Foster hitting in Ebbets Field: “You’d need a computer to count all his homers!”

  • Anonymous

    Is it too early to speak illl of the dead?

    I never cared for Sparky. He took over an 86-win team, and then it took him 5 whole years to top that total.

    He traded Ron LeFlore for Dan Shatzeder.

    In the late 70’s, the Tigers brought up Mark Fidrych, Lance Parrish, Dave Rozema, Alan Trammel, Lou Whitaker, Steve Kemp, Kirk Gibson, Steve Kemp, Dan Petry, and Glen Wilson. And yet the Tigers only made the playoffs twice in the 90’s.

    Sparky traded Howard Johnson for Walt Terrell.

    Sparky had a terrible record with rookies. He gave thousands of at-bats to scrubs like Dave Collins, Dan Gladden, Doug Flynn, and Tom Brookens; during his 17 years with the team, Sparky developed a grand total of two position players: Glen Wilson and Travis Fryman.

    Sparky moved Lou Whitaker to 3rd base to make room for Chris Pittaro.

  • sharon ellis

    Since Sparky lived in Thousand Oaks will there be a memorial service it this area. Where will be Sparkys resting place.

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