|Smiling as always, George "Sparky" Anderson was asked in August of 2000 what he treasured most about going into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The native son of Bridgewater said without hesitation, “I’m going to be the first South Dakotan (to be enshrined at Cooperstown).”
In becoming one of the most successful and humble major-league baseball managers in history, Anderson never forgot where it all began back on February 22nd, 1934. He was born in Bridgewater, a town of some 600 McCook Country folks halfway between Sioux Falls and Mitchell. “First and foremost,” he tells those who ask, “I’m a South Dakotan. All of us are formed by where are roots are.”
Anderson’s huge success as a baseball manager- “always be firm but fair”- was highlighted by three World Series championships, with the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and 1976, and with Detroit in 1984. The latter triumph earned him the first of his two Manager of the Year awards.
He retired from managing in 1995 with a lifetime record of 2,194 wins and 1,834 losses, placing him in the select company for victories with super heroes Connie Mack and John McGraw. And Detroit broadcaster Ernie Harwell, himself a Tiger legend, called Sparky "an American landmark."
George Anderson passed away on November 4, 2010.
|Home Town (Bridgewater, SD)|