My wife and I are the guardians of a handicapped boy.He's 43 years old.His name is Jamie.He was born Down's Syndrome..I say boy because he hasn't grown any since he was 12,He can't walk and he can only say a few words.That damage to his body is because in 1987 when he was 12 he went into a diabetic coma.He was in that coma for a week.He spent another 6 weeks after that in Children's Hospital in Detroit..Sparky was a big supporter of that hospital.He did TV ads for Ford and donated the money to the hospital..He also visited the hospital quite often.One day my wife and I were in the room with Jamie.A man walked in and introduced himself as Sparky Anderson.Not necessary..I knew who he was when I saw him.We talked for a bit then he walked over and talked to Jamie and gave him an autographed baseball.As he started to leave he put his hand on my wife's shoulder and said it's going to be OK..The doctors told me later that they didn't expect Jamie to make it,but he did.They said it was a miracle that he did.Some how though Sparky seemed to know that he would..Jamie is still here and so is that baseball.It will be here as long as I or my wife is...Sparky was a famous man.He could have hung out with the upper crust if he had wanted to.He chose instead to give of himself to try to make the lives of others better.Not just an excellent baseball man,also a caring compassionate person who I feel honored to have met..Of course he was a pipe smoker.
I thought..Getting old would take longer than this.
Sparky Anderson was a class act. He won World Series with both Cincinnati and Detroit in both leagues. One of the best managers in major league history and always a great guy for the communities outside the dug out.
That is a great story. I was always a Sparky Anderson fan. One thing I remember about him is more often than not, when he was interviewed in his office, he was smoking a pipe.
I'm not certain but believe Sparky may have still been smoking cigarettes when he managed the Big Red Machine to their back to back World Series victories. No crime there as a whole bunch of us have made that transition. Interesting history without mentioning Earl Weaver.