A tip of the Cheap Seats cap to Sparky Anderson who passed away today at the age of 76.
Anderson was best known as the manager of the Big Red Machine in the 1970s and of the Detroit Tigers in the 1980s. But he cut his teeth as a manager in the lower levels of the Cardinals farm system in the 1960s after ending his career as a major league player with a .218 batting average.
His second season as a manager, in 1965 at the age of 31, Anderson managed the Class A Rock Hlll Cardinals to the Western League Championship. Promoted to the St. Petersburg Cardinals in 1966, he won the Florida State League championship. Somehow, after two seasons in a row in which he won his league, Anderson was allowed to leave to join Cincinnati's minor league system as a manager.
He became manager of the big league Reds in 1969, winning World Series crowns in 1975 and 1976 for Cincinnati before winning another for the Tigers in 1984. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000.