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Sparky Anderson - Sparky In Detroit

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Sparky Anderson left Cincinnati and became manager of the Detroit Tigers in 1979. Anderson's ability to level with his players as people and not as personalities would ultimately prove more powerful than the politics of major league baseball. His teams in Detroit would never be as powerful or talented as those in Cincinnati, but his message would take them to the top and make him the only manager to win a World Series in both the National and American leagues.

The 1984 Tigers won the World Series in convincing fashion. They led the race from the beginning of the season until the last out of the Series. He would ultimately spend seventeen seasons with the Tigers and claim that the 1987 season was his most satisfying of his career. In 1987, his Tigers were overachievers that made it to the playoffs without the talent of the top clubs but with a feisty determination that reflected Anderson's personality perfectly. During Sparky's years in Detroit he would endure only five losing seasons and make a very public stand against the baseball strike before retiring.

Awards and Accomplishments

1971, 1973, 1976-77 Named manager for National League at the All-star game
1972, 1975 Named National League Manager of the Year
1975 Wins World Series
1976 Wins second World Series
1984 Wins first World Series with Detroit Tigers
1985 Named American League manager at the All-star game
2000 Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

Sparky Anderson Hall of Fame Induction Speech

I want all of you at this moment—and it's a must for me, 'cause this will be the last time I ever get to speak, 'cause when I walk away from here today, I'll never win another game, and I'll never lose another game, and I know that; so in that respect it's a sad moment for me, knowing I will never get to get up in front of a group—but, I want you to take a look at the people behind me and put it in your brain, when you look at 'em. The people that came before them, and these people, and the people that will come after them. That is baseball. All the other stuff you've heard about baseball is just makeup. Those people made this game, and they will protect this game. And when you set in a room with the, and you look around, you say to yourself, "My goodness, George Sugar, how could we come from the streets of Santa Barbara to Cincinnati, Ohio? That's impossible. How could a young man from Bridgewater, South Dakota, 600 people, and couldn't play ever be in front of a microphone, and they're talking about the third winningest manager?"

Well let me tell you this, and get it straight, and I hope every manager that follows me will listen very carefully: Players earn this, by their skills. Managers come here, as I did, on their backs, for what they did for me. I never believed different, I will never believe different, and I think that's what made my career so lucky. I was smart enough to know the people that were doing the work, and I could never under any circumstances ever thank 'em.

My father never got past the third grade, but there ain't a guy that ever went to Harvard as smart as my Daddy. My Daddy said this. He said, "I'm gonna give you a gift. It's the greatest gift to take all the way through your life. And if you live with this gift, everything will work perfect." And he said, "Son, I'm gonna give you a gift that will never cost a dime, and that gift is this: If everyday of your life, and every person you meet, you will just be nice to that person, and treat that person like they are someone." And, you know, I can tell you this. I have tried as hard as I could, and there's no way you can try any harder than I have. My Daddy was all man. He didn't need no big degrees to walk tall. He could walk tall just from the way he handled himself.

I'm not gonna mention players individually or coaches individually. But I'll tell you this: No coach ever worked for me in my whole career. I worked with coaches, and that was the thing I think I enjoyed so much. We were together. We worked together. They told me many times what to do and I listened. 'Cause you know something? It's a funny thing. There are other people besides the manager that are smart. You know, a manager has that above his door. He can be the dumbest moron there ever was, but as long as he's manager he's got "Manager" above his door. That don't work. There's two kind of managers. One that ain't very smart. He gets bad players, loses games, and gets fired. Then there was somebody like me that was a genius. I got good players, stayed out of the way, let 'em win a lot, and then just hung around for 26 years. It was a lot of fun.

Source: Induction Speeches: Sparky Anderson. "Baseball Hall of Fame." http://baseballhalloffame.org/hof_weekend/2000/speeches/anderson_sparky.htm (November 24, 2002).

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