Sept. 23, 1984: Anderson becomes first skipper with 100-win seasons in both leagues
By Thomas Lawrence
Sparky Anderson had a knack for making good teams better. The result was four 100-win seasons – and a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Twenty-five years ago today, on Sept. 23, 1984, Anderson’s eventual world champion Detroit Tigers won their 100th game of the season. Not only did this give Anderson his fourth 100-win season, but it also made him the first manager to do so in both leagues. Since then, Whitey Herzog and Tony La Russa have joined that exclusive club.
Sparky did it with the 1970 Cincinnati Reds the first time, and led the Reds to 100 wins twice more (1975 and 1976) before bringing his winning ways to the Motor City.
“Sparky’s got style and charisma…” said his former outfielder Champ Summers, who played for him in both Cincinnati and Detroit, “…and knows how to manage and get the best out of his players.”
Against the Yankees on that September day in 1984, Anderson’s Tigers pulled out a 4-1 win led by a six-inning, scoreless performance by starter Jack Morris. The win was Morris’ 19th and final regular-season win of his 1984 All-Star campaign.
Solo homers by third baseman Marty Castillo and slugging right fielder Kirk Gibson also helped Detroit’s cause.
It was Anderson’s 1,338th win out of an eventual 2,194, which is sixth all-time behind current titans Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, as well as John McGraw and all-time leader Connie Mack. When Anderson retired, he was third on the all-time wins list.
In his years as skipper, Anderson took home five league pennants, three World Series rings and two Manager of the Year awards – with the 1984 and 1987 Tigers.
Anderson retired after the 1995 season and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000.
Thomas Lawrence was the 2009 publications intern at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum