Sparky Anderson's World Series Simulation by From image

Sparky Anderson's 1975 Reds vs the 1984 Tigers

The Big Red Machine too much for Tigers

Ryan Fowler,
November 4th, 2010

Back-to-back quarterly sales reports that rank second within a company's financial portfolio should earn an employee a raise, a promotion and possibly a Christmas bonus.

Sparky Anderson got fired.

His managerial portfolio in Cincinnati was so strong from 1970-1976 that back-back second place finishes in 1977 and 1978 (not to mention his loyalty) presented the Reds a reason to hand a pink slip to the man with the white hair.

Anderson dusted himself off and took his two World Series titles and four National League pennants to the American League and settled down with Detroit.

Sparky Anderson

Five years after he led the Tigers to a 56-win season in 1979, Sparky became the first manager to win World Series titles in both leagues when the 1984 Tigers defeated the San Diego Padres in five games.

After 26 seasons in the 'Nati and Motown, Sparky called it a career in 1995. His two-plus decades of dugout excellence impressed the Veterans Committee enough to induct him into Cooperstown in 2000.

Although his playing days with Philadelphia Phillies lasted all of 152 days in the summer of 1959 (.218 BA, 34 RBI, 0 HR), you can see how Sparky Anderson would hit against any team in baseball history using our Major League Baseball SimMatchup feature.

We, on the other hand, wanted to know how his two finest ball clubs would fare against each other. We took the "Big Red Machine" and had them "play" the '84 Tigers 1001 times.

Our MLB simulation engine generated each teams' winning percentage, runs scored and runs allowed in the 1001 nine-inning affairs.

Sparky Anderson Tribute - 1001 Simulations
MatchupWin%Runs Scored/GameRuns All./GameWIS Interactive
1975 Reds635.74.8 Boxscore
1984 Tigers374.85.7Simulate Game
Sparky Anderson

First things first, how bad-ass is that photo of Sparky? Could you imagine asking that pipe smoker with the menacing glare if you could move up in the batting order or skip infield practice? Take off the baseball cap and uniform, slap a tuxedo on him and James Bond has a new arch rival.

Sparky always expected the best, so we provided you the best match-up in these 1001 simulations. Don Gullett (15-4, 2.42 ERA) and Jack Morris were the starting pitchers in every simulation. Morris had the challenging task of handcuffing the likes of Pete Rose, George Foster, Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan. As for Gullett, he dealt with Lou Whitaker, Chet Lemon, Alan Trammell and Howard Johnson.

The "Big Red Machine" averaged over five runs a game during the 1975 season and they didn't slow down against the 1984 Tigers. Sparky's Cincinnati ball club averaged 5.7 runs/gm against Detroit in the 1001 simulations, while the Tigers were held under their '84 average of 5.11 runs/gm mustering 4.8 runs/gm in the sims.

1975 Reds vs 1984 Detroit Tigers
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
1975 Reds690Simulate Game
1984 Tigers540Boxscore
WP: Don Gullett LP: Willie Hernandez SV: Rawley Eastwick
Player of the Game: Don Gullett - 7 IP and 8 Ks
Don Gullett

The 1975 Reds came back to win 47 times during their run to the World Series. Cincinnati would need some late inning heroics to rally back to beat Sparky's 1984 Tigers' team in our sample simulation.

Cincinnati got to Morris (15-4, 2.42 ERA) in the first two innings. Tony Perez laced a single to left that drove in Morgan who had walked earlier to hand the Reds an early 1-0 lead. The "Red Machine" followed that up with a solo homer off the bat of Dave Concepcion to lead off the top of the second. For those fans of old Tigers Stadum, the ball hit off the left-field foul pole and back down onto the field.

Morris would eventually settle down and didn't allow a run the next three innings. Trailing 2-0, the Tigers' bats came alive in the bottom of the fourth. With two runners on, Lemon blasted a three-run bomb to the seats in left to give Detroit their first lead of the game at 3-2. Two batters later, Dave Bergman brought the pain, he went gonzo to right field. The four run inning had the Tiger faithful on their feet.

Jack Morris

Both teams scored in the sixth and seventh innings to make it 5-3 as the game entered its final innings.

With the two-run lead, Morris started the seventh inning for the Tigers. He got Pete Rose to ground out, but Morgan followed by taking him deep to left-center. Morris then walked Bench. Sparky had seen enough and pulled his ace pitcher. In came Willie Hernandez who proceeded to groove one to George Foster who deposited the baseball in the right field seats.

Just like that the Reds were back on top 6-5. The Tigers went down in order in the bottom of the eight inning.

However, Detroit had life in the ninth inning. With Rawly Eastwick now in to close, Lemon and Trammell both worked one-out walks to put the tying running on second base. Bergman popped out. So it was up to Lance Parrish to play the role of hero for Anderson's Tigers. It should be noted that Parrish led the Tigers in strikeouts with 120 during the 1984 season. So, right on cue, Parrish struck out and left the tying run on second.

The 1975 Cincinnati Reds beat the 1984 Detroit Tigers 6-5 and send Sparky Anderson out a winner.

One more victory to add to the portfolio.

Sparky Anderson

Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for He can be reached at

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