November 09, 2010

Sparky and his proteges

Here's an interesting thought. 

Alan Trammell and Kirk Gibson are both disciples of the late Sparky Anderson.

Anderson's tenure in Detroit ended badly back in 1995. Apparently, the owner at the time did not appreciate Anderson's decision to NOT manage replacement players during the 1995 season. I read last night in John Lowe's excellent review of Anderson's career and life ( that:
"The strike was still going when spring training was due to start in 1995. Teams hired replacement players, opened spring training and implicitly threatened to begin the regular season with the substitutes. Anderson wouldn’t go along with the idea. He refused to manage the replacement team in spring training, and thus he ruptured his relationship with Ilitch. The two apparently never repaired the rift, and many observers believe it is why the Tigers haven’t retired Anderson’s No. 11."

(Read more: Legendary Tigers manager Sparky Anderson dies at 76 | | Detroit Free Press
Anderson probably gave his approval for Trammell to manage the '03 Tigers with Gibson as his top lieutenant. I'm sure, looking back, it was with "warning." The whole charade did not end well for Tram or Gibby in Detroit.

I've often thought that Gibson would be a great replacement down the road for Jim Leyland, if he ever decides to leave. But, he probably won't return to the Motor City while Mr. Illitch owns the team. My reasoning is that, according to Lowe, Sparky felt wronged by the owner. Now, Tram and Gibby have both been "wronged" by the organization and owner for the charade that was running the club in 2003–2005.

So, as long as current ownership stays, Gibby and Tram won't appear in the Old English D anytime soon. And Sparky's #11 will never be retired. Though it should be …

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