Sparky is a fun name, especially if your given name is a run-of-the-mill George or Walter. Sparky Anderson and Sparky Lyle are today's focus of the flashback.
George "Sparky" Anderson never really amounted to much as a player. In fact, his lone season in the majors was with the Phillies in 1959 batting a lowly .218 in 152 games at secondbase. What Sparky lacked in talent on the playing field he more than made up for in the dugout, where he gained fame. Anderson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000 as a manager for steering the Big Red Machine to back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976 and then the Tigers in 1984. In 26 years of managing he racked up a 2194-1834 record with 5 pennants and 3 championships for Cincinnati and Detroit. Holds the distinction as the only MLB player to be born in South Dakota and be a Hall of Famer. Also had his #10 jersey retired by the Reds.
Walter "Sparky" Lyle helped pioneer the bullpen role of modern day closer. His 35 saves for the 1972 Yankees were at that time a record. For his career he notched 238 saves over 16 seasons and 899 games. His glory days were with the Red Sox and Yankees (won the Cy Young in 1977), as he didn't become a Phillie to later in his career (1980-1982), and by that time lost the effectiveness that made him a feared left-handed pitcher in the American League. From Wikipedia- "A noted clubhouse prankster in his playing days, Lyle was known for sneaking into the locker room during games to sit au naturel on birthday cakes prepared for teammates, leaving the imprint of his posterior on the frosting. In his autobiography, Lyle noted that teammate Ron Swoboda turned the tables on him by defecating on a cake which was then delivered to Lyle."