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Tigers to retire Sparky Anderson’s number on Sunday

Jun 24, 2011, 11:03 AM EDT

Sparky Anderson ap

While it would have been nice to do it while he was alive, the Tigers are nonetheless doing the right thing and are retiring Sparky Anderson’s number before Sunday’s game.

The best part of it — and I’m sure it’s no accident — is that they’re doing it with the Diamondbacks in town. The Diamondbacks managed by Kirk Gibson and bench coached by Alan Trammell, who are arguably the two most significant players of Anderson’s run in Detroit.  Well, we can add Lou Whitaker to that, but I’m guessing he’ll be there too.  No idea about Jack Morris, but I don’t much care for him, so it makes no difference.

In the Detroit Free press today there’s an interview with Gibson, who recounts a great story about an incident in 1983 in which Anderson, trying his best to either motivate or infuriate Gibson — it’s not clear which it is — lined up against the former Michigan State receiver like he was a defensive back and got run over by him.  I had never heard it before, but as a kid whose first reading of newspaper sports sections included a healthy dose of stories that could have been headlined “Kirk Gibson: will this jerk football player ever figure out how to play baseball?”  it resonates.

And, for no reason, I reprint this picture I took in Arizona during spring training, which is easily my favorite baseball picture I’ve ever taken:

  1. koufaxmitzvah - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Good move, Detroit.

    • Detroit Michael - Jun 24, 2011 at 4:43 PM

      Still a shame that they wouldn’t do it while Sparky was alive.

      If Sparky had indicated his preference for a Tiger cap on his HoF plague, the Tigers would have already retired his number. It was petty of them not to have done so already.

  2. yankeesfanlen - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    These are all nice ceremonies to have. Tigers have had many great teams over the years, and it’s good to see them in a pennant race (or thereabouts)
    While I’m at it, Sunday is Yankees Old Timers Day, starting at 11:30. Don’t know if MLB tv will cover it, I can just watch it on YES. First timers include Joe Torre and Bernie Williams for you irony lovers out there.Haven’t heard but I hope Moose and Yogi can make it.And they actually play (?) for a “while”

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      Is Jim Bouton still banned from OTD?

      • yankeesfanlen - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:20 PM

        Not at all, and warmly received. And it happened under somewhat poignant circumstances:

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        Wow…I had no idea about Laurie either.

  3. pisano - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Sparky was a class guy and a credit to baseball. The Reds should also retire his number, all he did there was get them a world championship.

    • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 24, 2011 at 12:05 PM

      The Reds have retired Sparky’s number. Good for Detroit.

      • pisano - Jun 24, 2011 at 1:12 PM

        I wasn’t aware, thank you.

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    If he were here, I know what he’d say;
    “Bless You Boys.”

  5. Detroit Michael - Jun 24, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    I’m guessing that Sweet Lou Whitaker won’t be there. If he was willing to come to these sorts of events, the Tigers would probably retire Lou’s and Trammell’s numbers together.

    If I recall, Whitaker didn’t care for the publicity very much and thought it smacked of too much idolatry for his religious tastes.

  6. dfrosty1 - Jun 26, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    “No idea about Jack Morris, but I don’t much care for him, so it makes no difference.”

    Really?!? you dont care for jack morris and are not aware he does radio for the twins?
    If you are going to cover baseball thats some pretty basic info you should know.

  7. dfrosty1 - Jun 26, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Lou whitaker was in attendance today. It was a very good touching ceremony.

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