A great nickname for a GREAT Hall of Fame manager, Sparky Anderson, he of the "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers.
So let's give him the next slot in my "Nicknames of the 70's" thread shall we?
Take a look:
I used a 1975 template and a fantastic photo of Anderson with his Hall of Fame catcher, Johnny Bench after (what else?), waiting for a relief pitcher!
It would have been too easy to use some portrait shot of him, but this photo just seemed "right", even WITH his back to the camera.
I used the 1975 template since he was at the height of his league domination with the Reds and his juggernaut lineup: Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey, George Foster et al.
But the nickname, of course, comes from the fact that Sparky was really one of the first managers to rely heavily on his bullpen.
When you look at the "Big Red Machine" teams of the mid-70's you find solid Major League starters like Don Gullet, Gary Nolan, Jack Billingham, etc.
But there was never a true "ace", which was actually rather abundant in the Majors during the decade.
However, the Reds DID have solid guys out of the pen like Tom Hall, Rawly Eastwick, Pedro Borbon, Clay carroll and Will McEnaney.
These were guys that could come in at any time during the game and pitch as long as Sparky needed them to.
So while so many other teams during the decade had guys completing 20 or more of their starts every season, the Reds didn't even have one of their starters complete 10 or more in either of their World Champion years.
But how can you argue with success, right?
And Anderson found a lot of success in his 26-year managing career!
Three world titles (the third coming in 1984 with the Tigers), seven first place finishes, two more pennants (1970 and 1972), and 2194 career victories.
He also won two Manager of the Year Awards, in 1984 and 1987 (the award was instituted in 1983, or he almost assuredly would have won a couple with Cincinnati), and guided five All-Star teams (four in the N.L., one in the A.L.).
Just a classic manager who managed some classic teams!
It's amazing to think that when he took over the Reds in 1970, he was only 36 years of age! It's easy to remember him like the grandfatherly figure he was the last part of his career.
Sparky Anderson, "Captain Hook", a Hall of Famer inducted into Cooperstown in 2000 by the Veteran's Committee.