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Sparky and Me: My Friendship with Sparky…

Sparky and Me: My Friendship with Sparky Anderson and the Lessons He… (edition 2012)

by Dan Ewald

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Title:Sparky and Me: My Friendship with Sparky Anderson and the Lessons He Shared About Baseball and Life
Authors:Dan Ewald
Info:Thomas Dunne Books (2012), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Joel, eBook, Baseball

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Sparky and Me: My Friendship with Sparky Anderson and the Lessons He Shared About Baseball and Life by Dan Ewald



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I didn't know a lot about Dan Ewald before reading this book, except that he was one of the folks Ernie Harwell always credited at the end of a broadcast. It turns out Dan was Sparky Anderson's gatekeeper, and this book is a memoir of their relationship. It's cast as a long conversation occurring a few days before Anderson's death. There are a bunch of stories about, and often told by, Sparky. The last fifty or so pages are a real tear-jerker. Ewald likely intends this as an inspirational book, and it can certainly be read that way.

Besides the Life Lessons, the book contains a quite a bit of biographical material, and a surprising amount of information and commentary about Sparky's managerial methods. Sparky was more a motivator and molder than a tactician, as anyone who followed his teams knows. Ewald witnessed Anderson's methods during his Tiger years, and heard yarns about his work with the Cincinnati team's already-established egos. Also potentially valuable is the author's discussion about the differences and commonalities between Anderson's two personas--Sparky, the always-on-stage manager, and the homebody known to his friends as George. I'd long been aware of the Sparky/George division, but hadn't previously seen it directly considered.

This book's been the stand-in-line book on my smartphone for the past few months. It's been a worthwhile companion. Recommended, particularly to Tigers and Reds fans, and to anyone who wants some clue about how baseball's managers do their work.

This review has also been published on a dabbler's journal.( )
  joeldinda | Jan 15, 2013 |
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"Few sports figures, regardless of their of their position, have generated as much good will as Sparky Anderson. The legendary manager for the Cincinati Reds and the Detriot Tigers met author Dan Ewald in 1979 and thus was born a lifelong friendship not likely ever to be seen again in baseball. Along the way, Dan never took for granted the front row seat he had to watch one of history's most memorable managers' absolute mastery of baseball's intricacies. But the most important things Sparky taught Dan were the "unwritten rules" of life, which he practiced meticulously. Sparky had a gift for taking something as inane as the infield fly rule and turning it into a lecture explaining how to lead a more meaningful life. In this memoir, Dan shares with readers Sparky's spirit through his friend's wisdom and stories only the two of them shared"--… (more)

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