Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson born
Born 82 years ago this week on Feb. 22, 1934, in Bridgewater, S.D., Anderson and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was eight. After honing his baseball skills in the Southern California amateur ranks, Anderson signed a free agent contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953. He ascended through the Dodgers system as a middle infielder, learning his craft but also absorbing skills he would use in his future career as a manager.
In 1955, Anderson was the every-day second baseman for the Double-A Fort Worth Cats, whose roster included future big league managers like Danny Ozark, Joe Pignatano, Norm Sherry, Maury Wills and Hall of Famer Dick Williams.
Following the 1958 season, the Dodgers traded Anderson to the Phillies, where he won the team’s second base job in 1959. But after producing just 12 extra base hits and 34 RBI, Anderson was returned to the minors – where he spent 1960-63 with Toronto of the International League before calling it a career.
The Tigers won the American League East again in 1987, giving Anderson his seventh postseason berth. He retired following the 1995 season with a record of 2,194-1,834 – a win total that still ranks No. 6 on the all-time list.
Anderson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000. He passed away on Nov. 4, 2010.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum