A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book: They Call Me Sparky by Sparky Anderson

Sparky starts out talking about how people are all the same. He gives a story about how people are always surprised that he still lives in the small house he and his wife build decades ago.

I appreciate the way Sparky says that he doesn't feel he is any better than anyone else just because he has been fortunate. In his book, Sparky comes off as humble and gracious.

He also talks about his feelings that players need to be aware of their status as role models.

The first several pages of the book are devoted to the baseball strike in 1995. Replacement players were used during spring training. They didn't even use players from the minors. Sparky was the only major league manager who refused to manage the replacements.

Anderson explains that he didn't really do it for the players, he did it out of respect for the quality of the game. He felt bad for the replacement players, as he felt they were being used.

Reading about the strike and the replacement players used during the 1995 spring training season leads me to feel curious about the teams in March of that year. I am going to have to see if a detailed book about that month of spring training is available.

Sparky covers the era's people would expect, including his time with the Reds in the 70s, and the 1984 Tigers. He touches on the bad season he had in Detroit, talking openly about his need to take some time off in the middle of the season.

Also as expected, Sparky doesn't trash talk anyone, and he takes responsibility for some things that happened here and there.

Sparky humbly talks about his trips to see kids in the hospital, and his charity work, but he doesn't linger on these topics.

He also talks a little about rumors that he has been black balled from managing, but he says he doesn't really feel that is the case. He says that he is grateful to the sport.

This is a fun book that could be read over an evening. This would be a great book for a young fan of baseball for many reasons. Sparky is full of optimism and positivity.

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