Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson dead at 76
Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson died Thursday at the age of 76.
Anderson's family announced Wednesday that Anderson had been placed in the care of hospice at his home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for complications resulting from dementia.
A statement released by Anderson's family Wednesday said: "The Anderson family -- wife Carol, sons Lee and Albert, and daughter Shirley Englebrecht -- wishes to express appreciation to all friends and fans for the support and kindness they have shown throughout Sparky's career and retirement. The family is particularly grateful for the respect for privacy the national and local media have demonstrated during this trying period."
Anderson managed the legendary Big Red Machine-era Reds to World Series titles in 1975 and 1976, and guided the Tigers to the 1984 World Series championship. He was the first manager to win the World Series with a National League team and an American League team.
In all, he managed five pennant winners and seven division winners during his career, which began in 1970 with the Reds, when he was just 36. Anderson won manager of the year honors in 1984 and 1987, and was named Sporting News' AL manager of the year in 1987.
In his 26 seasons as a major league manager, he was 2,194-1,834. He ranks sixth on the all-time wins list and last managed in 1995 with Detroit.
George Lee Anderson was born in 1934 in South Dakota and attended high school in Los Angeles. He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers out of high school in 1953. His major-league playing career consisted of two games for the 1959 Phillies.
A light-hitting middle infielder, Anderson played in the minors for 10 years before beginning his minor-league managerial career in 1964.
"Sparky's like Ernie Banks--you finally realize it's no act, it's who he is, and it's all good," Tom Callahan, a Cincinnati columnist during the Reds' glory years, told Sporting News in 2000, the year he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.