Very sad news on a Detroit sports icon comes from California, where the family of Sparky Anderson revealed that the former Tigers manager has been placed in hospice care "for complications resulting from dementia."
Here's a portion of the statement released by Anderson's family, via MLB.com:
"The Anderson family -- wife, Carol; sons Lee and Albert; and daughter Shirley Englebrecht -- wishes to express appreciation to all friends and fans for the support and kindness they have shown throughout Sparky's career and retirement."
The 76-year-old Anderson managed the Tigers from 1979 to 1995, leading the team to a World Series championship in 1984 and compiled the most wins in franchise history with 1,331. And as Bless You Boys points out, Sparky is the last manager to win a division title in Detroit, back in 1987.
In 2000, he was elected to The Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee for a 26-year managerial career. Nine of those seasons were spent with the Cincinnati Reds, during which he won back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. His 863 wins are the most in Reds franchise history.
Anderson returned to Detroit last fall for a reunion of the 1984 Tigers championship team at Comerica Park. At the time, many thought he looked surprisingly frail and he even made references in his speech to his advancing age and deteriorating health. According to the Detroit News' Tom Gage, Sparky's condition had appeared to worsen when he appeared for the golf outing fundraiser for his children's charity, CATCH.
Thoughts and best wishes go out to the Anderson family during this difficult time. There are a legion of Tigers fans that hold a dear place for Sparky in their hearts.
(Hat tip to Big League Stew)