In the big leagues, getting the manager’s nod to take the mound as the starting pitcher on opening day is the dream of every major league hurler. At the beginning of a new season, the honor is akin to receiving the endorsement, “ace of the rotation.” Such must have been going through Frank Tanana’s mind when he landed the coveted spot on one opening day from then Detroit Tiger manager Sparky Anderson. That is, until Sparky was asked why he had picked Frank. His response was short but not-so-sweet, “Somebody has to do it.”

In an interview with Detroit’s local ABC affiliate on the morning of the Tiger’s home opener 2006, Frank remembered he later ‘thanked’ Sparky for his “less than enthusiastic endorsement.”

Sparky was not one to withhold compliments when he felt they were due. In fact, his praise was often effusive when a ball player deserved it; but he was also a wise leader who knew which players needed encouragement and which ones could profit from a dose of humility. (from Tom McCullough)

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