Tuesday, February 22, 2005


February 22nd, 1934

Sparky Anderson Born

Anderson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000, a deserving honor for a manager who guided his teams to five pennants, three World Series victories and a combined 2,194 wins, good for third all time, behind only Connie Mack (3731) and John McGraw (2763), although he will be passed by Tony LaRussa if the Cardinals manage to go .500 or better in 2005. Like many of his fellow managers, Anderson managed some truly great teams, but also some truly awful ones. There is just one manager in both the top ten in wins and winning percentage (Joe McCarthy) but eight managers in the top ten in both wins and losses, although that number will go down when Walter Alston is passed by Joe Torre (unless the Yankees win 119 games this season).

This isn't to knock those managers. You could do a lot worse than having anyone in the top ten manage your team, and most of them are on the losses list because of the longevity of their careers or a time when they managed the really bad teams. Truly inept managers never even make the top one-hundred for losses (let alone the top ten) because teams realize they made a letting-William-Cox-buy-a-team sort of bad decision in hiring them in the first place.

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