Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Anderson, Tigers Remain Loyal through Thick, Thin

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Anderson, Tigers Remain Loyal through Thick, Thin

Article excerpt

Entering arguably the most turbulent year of his 26-year managing career, Detroit Tigers skipper Sparky Anderson remains ready to talk baseball.

When last the major leagues were actually playing and not languishing in the courts or on Capitol Hill, Anderson was fending off rumors that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch was on the verge of replacing him. Ilitch eventually quelled those suspicions in September.

Here's Sparky on the uncertainty of his job and other baseball topics:

Question: Did you believe your job was in jeopardy?

Anderson: Oh, no. That was a rumor that got started. The one thing I know about Mr. Ilitch is, if he lets you go, he doesn't talk about it. He just calls you into his office, and you're gone.

Q: Did the speculation about your job status bother you?

Anderson: Yes. I don't think the players should have to be bothered with things like that. I don't think players mind if managers are fired, but what does bother them is if they have to pick up papers everyday and be bored by it.

Q: But when those reports were circulating, you said you wouldn't be surprised if they were true and that you would understand.

Anderson: I felt that if they're going to do it, do it. Don't hold nothing back. It wouldn't be the first time I was fired. I remember getting it after 92 victories (in 1978 with the Reds). I don't think firing is any disgrace.

Q: You have one year left on your contract, right?

Anderson: Right. This is, I think, the first time in 20 years I've been in this situation (without a contract extension).

Q: Does it bother you?

Anderson: No. It kind of feels free. I know me too well. I'm not trying to make myself out as Mr. Goody-Goody, but I have tremendous honor. If I agree to something, whether by my word or in writing, I will always honor that. This way (after 1995), I will have nothing to honor. It puts us on an even playing ground. …

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