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November 4, 2010

Sparky Anderson Placed in Hospice Care

When I read today that Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson was placed in hospice heart sunk.

Here's what the Associated Press had to say:

Former Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds manager Sparky Anderson has been placed in hospice care at his Thousand Oaks, Calif. home for complications resulting from dementia. No further details were released.

Sure, I knew nothing of his current state and know nothing about dementia, but the guy was one of the best managers around (he sits sixth all-time with 2194 wins) and when, years ago, I saw him amid a sea of fans prior to a Detroit Tigers-Milwaukee Brewers game...I had to get something signed.

The 76-year-old Anderson was the first manager to win World Series titles in both leagues (Tony LaRussa is the other) and is the only skipper to lead two franchises in career wins.

Courtesy of Tom Weir of the USA are some classic "Sparkyisms".

On the aftermath of a 16-4 loss, in 1990: "The only reason I'm coming out here tomorrow is the schedule says I have to."

On Bowie Kuhn's time as MLB commissioner: "If I hear him say just once more he's doing something for the betterment of baseball, I'm going to throw up."

On the designated hitter: "I've changed my mind about it. Instead of being bad, it stinks."

On managing: "A baseball manager is a necessary evil."

And his line of admiration about Willie Stargell: "He's got power enough to hit home runs in any park, including Yellowstone."

Anderson led the "Big Red Machine" to back-to-back World Series wins in 1975 and 1976 and directed the Tigers to a ring in 1984. Twice named the American League Manager of the Year (1984 and 1987), he retired from baseball in 1995.

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