THE MAIN SPARK: Sparky Anderson and the Cincinnati Reds by Sparky & Si Burick Anderson

THE MAIN SPARK: Sparky Anderson and the Cincinnati Reds

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The sparkplug of the Big Red Machine sounds off about his long apprenticeship in the minors, his aggressive and old-fashioned managerial style, and ""the only thing that counts""--winning. Is Sparky a great manager? His main men--Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, and Joe Morgan--say so in effusive terms. Sparky reciprocates in kind, calling the moody Bench, for instance, ""one of God's noblemen."" Anderson devotes an entire mini-chapter--two, actually--to the vexed question of ""long hair, long sideburns, muttonchops, big Afros, mustaches, and beards""--all verboten on the Cincinnati team. Trouble is, he never explains the rationale behind it, so it seems an arbitrary fiat, imposed to show who's boss. Obedience and gratitude are apparently what Sparky prizes most and expects from his players. He wants no truck with players' agents, options, free agents, and other newfangled impertinences. (Makes a fan wonder how Tom Seaver could be happy in Riverfront Stadium.) Any hot flashes in this book? Sparky thought that the sixth game of the 1976 World Series against Boston, the one that featured Carlton Fisk's glorious home run, was ""the greatest World Series game ever played."" And can you believe it, Cincinnati lost!

Pub Date: May 26th, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday