My name is Dan Ewald. I have had the pleasure of writing a memoir about a very dear friend. His name is Sparky Anderson and the book is titled ‘Sparky and Me’. Sparky and I met in 1979 and formed a lifelong friendship not likely to ever be seen again in baseball. Sparky is the legendary manager for the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers. I was a sports writer and the public relations director for the Detroit Tigers for 18 years, during which time we became great friends.
During our friendship I never took for granted the front row seat I had to watch one of the best managers in baseball history to master the ups and downs of the sport. When we weren’t caught up in baseball we were playing golf at Sunset Hills golf course in Sparky’s hometown in California, we even had the pleasure of playing with the great Wayne Gretzky.
The most important thing Sparky taught me was the “unwritten rules of life” a real professional was great on and off the diamond. Sparky wanted his players to be the best husbands, fathers, and community leaders they could be, he taught me that was the mark of a real winner not the box score. He would take something as ridiculous as the infield fly rule and turn it into a lecture on how to lead a more meaningful life.
In 2010 Sparky and I had planned a get together before the end of the year, but My dear friends health took a turn for the worse and I arranged a 3 day visit quickly. During our last days together we…