George “Sparky” Anderson, who guided the St. Petersburg Cardinals and three other minor league teams to pennants in the past five years, was appointed manager of the Cincinnati Reds yesterday, one day after Dave Bristol was released. Anderson, who becomes the major league’s youngest manager at the age of 35, coached San Diego this year and only Wednesday was named a coach for the California Angels.
“I appreciate the opportunity here,” Anderson said at a press conference. “This is a very talented ball club. You have to have talent to win a pennant.” Bristol, 36, was let go after Robert Howsam, vice president and general manager, said he felt the Reds needed a managerial change. Howsam offered Bristol a front office position.
Anderson’s minor league teams won four straight pennants and each year, the farm club was an affiliate of a major league team of which Howsam served as general manager. Howsam came to Cincinnati from St. Louis in 1967. Howsam introduced Anderson, saying that he “has an excellent record in handling and conditioning of pitchers. We sincerely feel he has the potential to become one of the league’s premier managers.” The Reds led the National League West from the starting gun in 1969, but faltered down the stretch. By the end of the July, the club dropped from first place, and by the end of August, a slump had dropped the club into fourth place.