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 It's time to honor Sparky Anderson (and Freehan?)

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PostSubject: It's time to honor Sparky Anderson (and Freehan?)   Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:01 pm

Friday, September 25, 2009
Tom Gage
It's time to honor Sparky Anderson

Cleveland

Do the right thing, Tigers.

When you have the 1984 Tigers together Monday night at Comerica Park for the 25th anniversary of that marvelous World Series-winning team, retire Sparky Anderson's uniform number.

What on earth is preventing you? The Cincinnati Reds have retired it. The Ft. Worth Kats have retired it.

It's time.

If you don't do it now, you might never get him back to Comerica Park to do it another time. In fact, you won't.

This is going to be a sad-and-glad occasion at the same time. We'll see that some of the players from 1984 are getting gray. We'll see that some might even be getting old.

Sparky, however, has long since gotten old.

He doesn't travel a lot -- doesn't even play golf a lot anymore, from what we hear. Not as much as he used to, anyway.

And make no mistake, he's returning for this reunion for one reason and one reason only. It's not for Mike Ilitch. It's not for the organization. It's definitely not for the attention.

It's for his guys -- the players on the team that went wire-to-wire. From their 35-5 start to beating the San Diego Padres in five games in the World Series.

And they, in turn, are coming back to see him. Some of them, perhaps many, wouldn't have attended otherwise.

His record speaks for itself

But the best way you can honor that team -- and those who brought so much happiness to the city, as this year's team is attempting to do -- is for the players and coaches who will be on hand to have returned for a tangible reason.

A reason more substantial than a wave to a crowd that's waving back, more lasting than a pregame Q&A session with fans, and far more valuable than a reduced hotel rate.

Retire the No. 11, Tigers.

Do it.


Anderson managed the Tigers for 17 years, twice being voted manager of the year. With 1,331 victories, he's the winningest Tigers' manager ever.

But even when he passed Hughie Jennings to take over the No. 1 spot, he had a banner put up in the clubhouse at Tiger Stadium that read "thank you, players, I couldn't have done it without you."

That led to the classic Walt Terrell line of "he could have done it without me" -- but the message was clear all the same. Anderson wasn't taking credit for the milestone he'd just achieved, he was saying he'd done it because of his players.

It's that kind of memorable bond we'll witness again Monday night.

They're here to see Sparky

Not all the surviving Tigers from 1984 will be there. Lou Whitaker declared as early as spring training he wouldn't be attending. Chet Lemon's name isn't on the list of those who will attend, either.

Neither are Howard Johnson, Rusty Kuntz and Marty Castillo, plus several who played lesser roles.

But Kirk Gibson will be there. So will Alan Trammell, Darrell Evans, Jack Morris, Lance Parrish, Guillermo Hernandez, Dave Bergman, Dan Petry, Milt Wilcox, Larry Herndon and many others.

They'll be there to see the old man.

Hopefully they'll be there to see the Tigers officially retire his number, too.

tom.gage@detnews.com


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


Last edited by GoGetEmTigers on Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: It's time to honor Sparky Anderson (and Freehan?)   Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:04 pm

I AGREE! Retire his number while he is alive to see it!!! He is one of the best managers the Tigs have ever had and his players and fans loved him!


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: It's time to honor Sparky Anderson (and Freehan?)   Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:45 pm

Saturday, September 26, 2009
Tigers: Notebook
Two good Tigers men make case to retire No. 11
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Chicago -- Better yet.

In response to a column that proposed, at the reunion of the 1984 World Series champions on Monday night at Comerica Park, the Tigers should retire No. 11, the uniform number of Sparky Anderson, there were many who agreed.

But there were many who didn't.

The replies that came across as the most productive, however, were those who said, "Combine it."

Don't just retire it for Sparky, retire it also for catcher Bill Freehan, who wore No. 11.

What an outstanding suggestion.

The reasons it should be done for Anderson are that with 1,331 victories, he's the winningest Tigers manager of all-time. He also was the manager of the 1984 championship team; managed the Tigers for 17 years; and is a Hall of Fame manager (although he went in as a member of the Cincinnati Reds -- as a tribute to Bob Howsam, the man who hired him as Reds manager).

The reasons that have been proposed why Anderson shouldn't have his number retired range from the awkward way his career with the Tigers ended (after his refusal to manage the replacement players); the fact that in 17 years, they won only one World Series; and because he spurned the Tigers as the team he represented going into the Hall of Fame.

There are those, however, who think No. 11 should be retired solely because it was Freehan's number -- and also those to whom it makes sense to retire it for both of them.

Why not? Freehan's accomplishments have long been overlooked.

But, as the premier American League catcher of his time, he was an 11-time All-Star, a five-time Gold Glove winner, twice finished in the top three in Most Valuable Player balloting, and until 2002, he had the highest career fielding percentage (.993) among catchers.

As a Tigers uniform number, No. 11 hasn't been worn since Anderson retired after the 1995 season, anyway.

What a nice way it would be to honor both men at the same time.

Around the horn

The rotation for the upcoming four-game series at Comerica Park against the second-place Twins looks like this:

Monday night, Rick Porcello vs. Nick Blackburn: Tuesday night, Justin Verlander vs. Brian Duensing; Wednesday night, Eddie Bonine vs. Carl Pavano; Thursday, Nate Robertson vs. Scott Baker.

... Bobby Seay, who'll miss the White Sox series because of a pectoral muscle strain, is optimistic he'll be ready to pitch again by the time the Twins series begins.

... The Tigers' 20 hits in their 12-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox Saturday were their most in game since July 30 of last year when they had 22 in Cleveland.

... Nate Robertson didn't have a good start. In 3 1/3 innings, he allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits.

"I don't ever sugarcoat stuff," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Tonight he didn't have good stuff or good command. That's a bad combination to try and win a major-league game with. I'll leave it at that."

... What bothered Ozzie Guillen the most after Saturday's loss was that his players were watching football after being trounced by the Tigers.
"I don't mind losing games," he said, "but when you lose games and you don't even care, we're going to have problems. When you turn your TV on and watch stupid football, when those football players don't care about you, it's embarrassing.

"Getting your butt kicked and all of a sudden, you're watching football? That's (not right)."

tom.gage@detnews.com


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: It's time to honor Sparky Anderson (and Freehan?)   Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:48 pm

I agree with the dual retirement. Sparky deserves it and Freehan was
one of the Tigers (and baseball's) best catchers. It would be a great
thing to do.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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