In the 1970’s the Cincinnati Reds were the team to beat. This earned them the nick name “The Big Red Machine.” They won an average of 98 games between the years of 1970 and 1976 captivated by two World Series in 75 and 76. The team had some great players on their teams including would be Hall of Famer Pete Rose and Hall of Fame players Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez. They were also managed by hall of fame manager Sparky Anderson.
Last week, on November 4th the baseball world sadly lost this great manager. He was 76. In addition to managing the Reds to two World Series he also became the first manager to manage a World Series team in both the American and National league when he managed the 1984 Detroit Tigers to a World Series.
George Lee Anderson, better known as Sparky, won 2,194 games as a big league manager. At the time that was the third all time and still stands as the 6th most. As a Detroit Tiger obsessed youngster, Sparky was a legend. When the Sparky Anderson era ended in Detroit in 1995 it seemed to be the start of a dark era for tiger’s fans. They spent the following decade they averaged 96 and a half losses and no winning seasons. In contrast the Tigers during Sparky Anderson’s tenure were much more impressive. They had eleven winning seasons.
He was missed by the organization as soon as he retired. The Reds were at least able to win a World Series after Sparky left, but the Tigers have not been as fortunate. His iconic smile and passion for the game will truly be missed.