Sparky and Me
Sparky and Me
My Friendship with Sparky Anderson and the Lessons He Shared About Baseball and Life
By Dan Ewald
Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9781250000262, 352pp.
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
In the tradition of "Tuesdays With Morrie, " Dan Ewald pens a memoir of his friendship with legendary Tigers manager Sparky Anderson, the man who taught him not only the nuances of baseball, but the importance of life's unwritten rules.
Few sports figures, regardless of their position, have generated as much good will as Sparky Anderson, the legendary manager for the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers. Sparky 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 nuances and intricacies.
But the most important things Sparky taught Dan were the "unwritten rules" of life, which he practiced meticulously. To Sparky, a real professional was as great away from the diamond as he was on it. His goal was for his players to be the best husbands, fathers, and community leaders they could be--he believed that was the mark of a winner, not the box score. Sparky had a gift for taking something as inane as the infield fly rule and turning it into a lecture on how to lead a more meaningful life.
In 2010, the old friends had planned a get-together before the end of the year. But Sparky's health was taking a turn for the worse, so Dan arranged a three-day visit as quickly as he could. During their last days together, the friends recalled the memories of a lifetime as each prepared silently for their final good-bye. When that weekend came to a close, Dan had grown to appreciate Sparky more than he ever thought he could. In this heartfelt memoir, Dan imparts to readers his best friend's spirit through his unforgettable life lessons and stories only the two of them shared.
"Like a wizard, Sparky Anderson was white-haired and wise, and sitting with him was like visiting with an oracle. Dan Ewald, who spent more time with Sparky than any of us, beautifully captures the magic of Sparky's wit, humor, and humanity in these pages. All baseball fans should read it." -- Mitch Albom, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Tuesdays with Morrie" and "Have a Little Faith"
"No one understood Sparky better than Dan Ewald. Managing people in a scope far broader than a pennant race is a rare quality, and Sparky understood people, their insecurities, their motivations. This is a great read, a great understanding of the humanity of playing baseball." -Peter Gammons, MLB Network
"For decades, it seemed like everyone in baseball knew Sparky Anderson, and almost all of us considered him a friend. But few knew him as Dan Ewald did. Here, Dan provides a unique look at an endearing man who led a significant life both in and out of the game." -Bob Costas.
Praise for Sparky and Me:
Ewald… fondly remember[s] the generosity of an American icon. His homage to his friend and ‘come-to-life cartoon figure’ who ‘demolished the English language more thoroughly than a wrecking ball’ brings the great manager to life.” –Publishers Weekly
“There are dozens of great anecdotes from Anderson’s days as manager of the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s and the Tigers in the eighties and nineties. A moving tribute to a very special friendship.” --Booklist
"Like a wizard, Sparky Anderson was white-haired and wise, and sitting with him was like visiting with an oracle. Dan Ewald, who spent more time with Sparky than any of us, beautifully captures the magic of Sparky’s wit, humor, and humanity in these pages. All baseball fans should read it.” -- Mitch Albom, New York Times bestselling author of Tuesdays with Morrie and Have a Little Faith
“No one understood Sparky better than Dan Ewald. Managing people in a scope far broader than a pennant race is a rare quality, and Sparky understood people, their insecurities, their motivations. This is a great read, a great understanding of the humanity of playing baseball.” –Peter Gammons, MLB Network
“For decades, it seemed like everyone in baseball knew Sparky Anderson, and almost all of us considered him a friend. But few knew him as Dan Ewald did. Here, Dan provides a unique look at an endearing man who led a significant life both in and out of the game.” –Bob Costas, NBC Sports and MLB Network
“Dan Ewald takes all of us who love Tigers baseball back to some of the best summers we’ve ever had. Dan brings to life his pal Sparky Anderson, one of the best old boys of summer who ever lived.” –Elmore Leonard, New York Times bestselling author of Raylan
"Sparky taught all of us the right way to play the game and how to act like a professional. No one was closer to Sparky than Dan Ewald. The stories that Dan shares show the character of the man we all love." --Alan Trammell, Detroit Tigers legend
"Sparky cared about us as ball players, but more importantly as husbands, fathers and men. He was the greatest influence on all of our lives. Everything I do today I owe to Sparky." --Kirk Gibson, Detroit Tigers great and Arizona Diamondbacks manager
“I could listen to the great Sparky Anderson talk all day about anything. Sparky and Me made me feel like I was sitting right next to him, learning his life lessons. Wonderful.” --Tim Kurkjian, ESPN
“The stories and recollections are priceless. But larger, much larger, is the relationship between Sparky Anderson and Dan Ewald that created most of the stories in this fine book. The friendship was special and, at the end of the day, that’s what this book is all about. You are going to love it.” – Hall of Fame Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman
"In Sparky and Me, Dan Ewald brings to life the most beloved baseball manager of the past 50 years and reminds us why we (and our sport) miss him so. But the book's enduring beauty lies in the heartfelt story of two best friends -- one famous, one not, both down- to-earth and loyal to their last breath. This is unlike any baseball book I've read."
-- Tom Stanton, author of The Final Season and Ty and the Babe