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    Default Sad news

    Sad news

    Thousand Oaks, CA -- Hall of Fame Baseball Manager Sparky Anderson died today at his home in Thousand Oaks, California. He was 76 years old. Mr. Anderson died as a result of complications from dementia.

    Mr. Anderson is survived by his wife, Carol; sons Lee and Albert; daughter Shirley Englebrecht; and nine grandchildren.

    At the request of Mr. Anderson, there will be no funeral nor memorial service. The family requests all media inquiries to be directed to family spokesperson Dan Ewald.

    The family also requests any donations be made to CATCH, Sparky's charity for children in Detroit, or the charity of one's choice.

    Donations to CATCH may be made online at or mailed to:

    223 Fisher Building
    3011 West Grand Boulevard
    Detroit, MI 48202

    Sparky Anderson died today. If you grew up watching his teams, if you know anything about what his teams meant and continue to mean to their cities....then you probably feel just a tad bit older today.
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Sad news

    Sad news indeed.
    Are these morons getting dumber or just louder-Mayor Quimby

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    Default Re: Sad news

    He was one of the better managers, for sure. The article says he died at home. I thought he had been moved into a hospice (only the day before he died). Also what is "complications from dementia"? It used to be called "hardening of the arteries", which I believe was actually Alzheimer's Disease. But now "complications from dementia"? What gives?


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    Default Re: Sad news

    Not sure about the "complications", or what it means....

    Hospice had taken over, and they can do that at home... My mom was under the care of hospice, and they did everything in the house so she could be in a more comfortable environment.
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Sad news

    Sparky Anderson, thanks for the memories
    Former Reds manager was gregarious, loving and well-loved.
    By Paul Daugherty • • November 4, 2010

    Comments (54) Recommend (18) Print this page ShareThis Font size:AA If sports provide the carnival music of our lives, Sparky Anderson was the barker.

    It was a good time to be alive and in Cincinnati in the 1970s. You could thank Sparky for some of that. Leaning forward from the dugout rail, yapping at his “boys,’’ loving baseball and his role in it. A lucky man who knew it.

    Not long ago, he stopped eating. Dementia does that to a person. Swallowing can be impaired; the connection between eating and staying alive is lost. It’s as if the brain tells the body “enough.’’

    • Photos: Sparky Anderson through the years
    • John Erardi remembers Sparky
    • Sparky Anderson's 2005 thoughts on baseball
    • Share your memories
    • Video: Sparky Anderson on WKRP
    • Our favorite Sparky Anderson quotes
    • Sparky Anderson statistics

    He died peacefully and without fanfare Thursday. George Lee Anderson was 76. There’s some wonderful and ironic Big Red symmetry there.

    Dying peacefully wasn’t especially like Sparky Anderson. He was gregarious, loving and well-loved. The no-fanfare would have been OK with him, though. He’d have appreciated that. Sparky wouldn’t want no fuss made.

    “It’s them guys out there that do it,’’ he might say, stretching a finger in the direction of the ballfield. “It wasn’t what I did. It was what they did. I got the easiest job in the world.’’

    He managed the Reds to four pennants and two world titles. He arrived in 1970, a 36-year-old career bus rider that Lee May referred to early on as “that minor-league mother.’’ He departed nine years later as the jockey who rode the Secretariat of major league teams.

    Anderson was comfortable with fame. It just never changed him, which was remarkable. He was also easy with crediting everyone else, a trait that served the Reds well during their star-filled run. “He had everyone’s respect, but he had to earn it, and he did,’’ Johnny Bench recalled Wednesday.

    A few years ago, I did a book with Bench. We talked at length about Sparky. Bench said the Main Spark’s best attribute was his ability to manage people. From the book, Catch Every Ball:

    Sparky took the time to know his players individually, so when he needed to motivate someone, he knew what made him tick.

    Anderson would consult The Big Four (Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan) before recommending a trade to the general manager. If we didn’t like the player or didn’t believe he’d fit our team, we’d veto him. If there was a guy available we wouldn’t like to have dinner with, he wouldn’t be on our club.

    Joe, Pete, Tony and I ruled the clubhouse. One spring, Sparky told the team, “I have one set of rules for you guys, and one set for them,” pointing to The Big Four. “Their rules are, they have no rules.”

    “He relied on our information, but made the decisions,’’ said Bench. “And 99.9 percent of the time, he was right.’’

    The Big Four repaid Anderson’s respect for them with championships, and love of the sort only ballplayers know. Pete Rose visited Anderson recently; Bench and Morgan saw him in August, in Cooperstown at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. “It was sad,’’ Bench recalled.

    Anderson couldn’t hear. He’d gotten new hearing aids not long before he made the trip to Cooperstown, but had forgotten to remove them when he took a shower. “When you can’t hear, it’s like you’re living in a vacuum. His social life stopped,’’ Bench said. “We were just all holding our breath in Cooperstown, hoping he’d make a comeback.’’

    Bench recalled a photo he took of his former manager that day. “He had a faraway look in his eyes,’’ Bench said, “like he was already gone.’’

    I asked Bench to look into his mind’s eye and fetch an image of Anderson.

    “Smiling, happy and brilliant,’’ Bench said. “That lean he always had. . . The fact he never stepped on a foul line. . . ‘Big John, how ya doin’?’ … we’re in spring training once, in the outfield doing calisthenics. He came up, started feinting, like he was boxing. I clipped him with a left jab on top of his head. He wanted to be one of the guys.

    “Sparky gave me stature,’’ Bench continued. He gave the team a level of professionalism and the fans a team that would be respected.’’

    Icons die ingloriously, same as the rest of us. The difference is the memories they bequeath. Once upon a time, there was a team that played baseball as well as any before or since. Sparky Anderson managed it. We all were younger then.

    Are these morons getting dumber or just louder-Mayor Quimby

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    Default Re: Sad news

    From the Detroit Tigers perspective...

    Losing Sparky like losing family
    The Skipper held court, built up his players and lit up a room

    I had a dream about Sparky Anderson a few days ago. He looked old and his hair was brown, and I called to him, but he didn't recognize me. Only after I said my name did he smile.

    And then it ended.

    I'd been wondering about that dream because Sparky doesn't usually show up in my REM cycle. And why was his hair brown? Sparky? The original White Wizard? Then, Thursday afternoon, I heard the jarring news: At age 76, Anderson, one of the most colorful, charming, perfectly suited managers baseball ever produced, had died in California.

    I don't know what that means for the dream. I know what it means for baseball. A mold has been forever shattered. Fans of a certain generation need only hear the word "Sparky" and they'll know what just passed. And kids, well, it may be hard to explain. Anderson didn't belong to today's fantasy league/money ball/analytics world of baseball. He was born to manage it. Not study it. Not even play it. (He was a pretty lousy player.) Manage it. He got the game. He felt it. He gripped the clubhouse the way Ruth or DiMaggio gripped a bat. He played hunches, pulled pitchers, tinkered lineups. He lived the game's lore until he became part of it. Baseball wasn't a diamond to Sparky, it was a planet. His home.

    Unlike most managers, Sparky Anderson actually looked more natural in a baseball outfit than in regular clothes. If you saw him in a shirt and tie or, heaven forbid, one of those colorful sweatsuits he sometimes wore, you wanted him to yank it off, Superman style, and reveal the leggings, the belt, the cap.

    You know. The Sparky look.

    He knew the game inside out
    George Lee Anderson was baseball. As a kid in Los Angeles, he played the game with Buckwheat from the "Little Rascals." True story. I learned this in one of countless visits to his inner sanctum, the manager's office. Those lucky enough to get inside recall a whirling dervish of a man in his underwear, scarfing spaghetti, his head almost in the sauce, but talking. Or a man hurled back in his chair like a king, hands raking through his white hair, still talking. Or a man stuffing his pipe with tobacco, eyes on the stem, still talking.

    I've heard Sparky talk about the Pope ("Oh, that man there, what a face!"), an alternative career ("I woulda been a painter like my daddy"), even a punk rock group, The Dead Milkmen. Ain't? None? Nobody? No? I have heard Sparky use so many negatives in one sentence that it became a positive.

    But the players who heard him talk baseball were the luckiest of all. He knew the game's DNA. Don't misunderstand. Sparky was no Kumbaya campfire skipper. He made his players shave. Dress in jackets and ties. To paraphrase Kipling, they all counted with him, but none too much. Kirk Gibson remembers a time Anderson called him into the office, yelling, "Big Boy, come in here! ... You got something to say?" And Gibson did. He ranted and raved for three minutes, uninterrupted, about playing time and usage. Finally, Sparky nodded and said, "Are you done?" Yes, Gibson said. Sparky motioned to the door -- go on now, get out -- and never added a word.

    "But I felt better," Gibson recalled.

    And that was Sparky's touch.

    'A father figure' to his players
    Anderson's accomplishments speak for themselves. (And given how much Sparky spoke, that's saying something.) Sixth on the all-time wins list. World Series titles in both leagues. Hall of Famer.

    But in the flood of memories Thursday from former players, few focused on that, and nearly all focused on how cherished they felt by him, how much he molded them. Cecil Fielder referred to him as "a father figure." Jack Morris said the team felt like "his family." Lance Parrish recalled Anderson's endless charity work.

    It would be fitting to ask Ernie Harwell -- he and Sparky walked together every morning on road trips -- but we lost Ernie this year, too, and it seems like some heavenly roll call is taking place in our town.

    I know this. The Sparky I saw in my dream wasn't the Sparky we loved -- nothing brown about him -- and if that was to be his path with the dementia he suffered, perhaps this is a kinder fate. Better to recall the best manager Detroit ever had as smiling, chatting, lighting up a room with a gravelly "How ya doin'?" Forever young in name and spirit, forever white and bright.

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    Default Re: Sad news

    Sparky was one of baseball's true good guys and was one hell of a manager to boot.

    The baseball landscape lost a true gentleman and a truly iconic manager.

    Rest in Peace!
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