OK, I was too harsh on you about Connie Mack.
But, as a Tiger fan all my life. I will never allow Sparky Anderson be called great and let it go unchallenged.
First, a monkey could've managed the Big Red Machine. In fact, one did. The pitching on those teams were very good. The 1st version of what was known as The Big Four I remember was the 1970s Reds. Don Gullett, Gary Nolan, Ross Grimsley, and Wayne Simpson. All young pitchers that came up like the recent A's and Tigers have. He truely mismanaged his pitching staff but that offense was so overwhelming, he could do almost anything and still overcome his mistakes. He pulled his pitchers often for no reason, developing the nick-name "Captain Hook".
He arrived in Detroit in 1979. Without knowing the team, he announced that the team would be ready in 5 years. 5 years later, WS Champs. Now, for the truth. True brethern know that the Tigers were at most, 2 years away when Sparky arrived. Ralph Houk had done his job, built the team back up, honed a management replacement in Les Moss who was managing a contending team early on, and the farm was full. The nucleus was already in place with young unknowns, Jack Morris, Milt Wilcox, Dave Rozema, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Lance Parrish, Aurelio Lopez, Tom Brookens, and Dan Petry was slated to join from AAA. Sparky had to be the star of the team. He rid the team of all its known stars such as Rusty Staub, Jason Thompson, Ron LeFlore, Steve Kemp, and even some favorites such as Aurelio Rodriguez and John Hiller and replaced them with "his players" in the form of Champ Summers and Rich Hebner type players and set the club back 3 years. He rarely gave young players a chance and usually gave up on them quickly. In fact, Roger Craig took control of the 1984 pitching staff and deserves as much credit for the WS as anyone. 1987 was Sparky's good year but, deserves sole credit for the poor showing in the playoffs. Almost every post season move he made was more than a little bizzar... mostly leaving a revived Willie Hernandez under utilized while the big choke, Mike Hennemen, lost game after game. Then there was the speedy, hot hitting Scott Lusader sitting on the bench and fat old Darrell Evens trying to play 3B while the Twins were making it obvious trying to hit it his way. Yeah, that's your great manager!
Ultimately, he had two very good solid teams and just couldn't build new ones as they aged. Sparky's biggest asset is that he amused the media, nearly copying Casey Stengel's speech and mannerism.
Last edited by HDH; 08-31-2007 at 04:14 PM.
In the 1920's, Harry Heilmann led the AL with a .364 average. In addition, he averaged 220 hits, 45 doubles, 12 triples, 16 homers, 110 runs, and 130 RBI.