Wednesday morning, it was announced that the 76 year old Sparky Anderson - long-time manager of the Reds and Tigers - has been placed under hospice care at his home in California due to complications from dementia. His family has released a statement, with an excerpt below:
"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 has demonstrated during this trying period."
Known as Sparky in baseball circles and as George in personal matters, Anderson first showed up as a light-hitting middle infielder. He spent only one season in the Major Leagues and fashioned a more successful, Hall of Fame career as a coach. He began as a successful manager in the minor leagues, and in 1970 he took over the Cincinnati Reds.
With the Reds, Anderson won 102 games in his first season and amassed an 863-596 record over nine years, winning four pennants and two World Series titles. He was fired following the 1978 season and soon thereafter took over the Detroit Tigers, who he managed through 1995. His Tigers went 1331-1248 over those 17 years, with one pennant and one World Series title. Over the course of his career, Anderson managed in five All-Star games and twice won AL Manager of the Year, in 1984 and 1987.
Anderson was the first manager to win the World Series in each league, and though he retired in 1995 due to disillusionment following the strike, he was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2000. His number #10 was retired by the Reds in 2005, and in 2007 he was elected into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Anderson is credited by many as being the first manager to use his bullpen in a more modern way by switching pitchers in and out to gain the platoon advantage.