View Full Version : Dick Wagner dead at 78

10-06-2006, 10:40 PM

10-06-2006, 11:41 PM
:( Sorry to see this. While Wagner has long been reviled as the destructor of the Big Red Machine which culminated in the inept team of 1982, he is not often given due credit for his work under Bob Howsam in helping to build the BRM in the first place. :thumbup:
My sore point with Wagner wasn't so much with his player moves as GM (and there were some godawful ones:thumbdown )... it was his firing of Sparky Anderson that made me swear to hate the guy. :angry: If memory serves me, the Reds were coming off of a 2nd place finish that year ('78 not '79 as the report said) and Wagner was insisting that Sparky get rid of one or more of his coaches (I'm thinking Larry Shepard the pitching coach may have been the primary target) and when Sparky refused, Wagner dropped the axe on Sparky. I remember being dumbfounded when it was announced.

10-06-2006, 11:54 PM
I hope he rests in peace I think he took a lot of the blame but did not deserve it

Always Red
10-07-2006, 09:39 AM
Wagner is often incorrectly labelled as the man who "dismantled the BRM."

Free Agency, and the changing business of the game, dismantled the BRM.

Wagner does deserve blame for firing Anderson, as mentioned by TStuck, and deserves kudos for his work with Howsam to build the same team.

RIP, Dick Wagner.

10-07-2006, 10:06 AM
Sorry to hear of his passing. Prayers to his family for peace.

With that said, he still made some pretty awful moves with the greatest team in baseball history.

10-07-2006, 11:05 AM

10-07-2006, 03:43 PM
R.I.P., and I wish his family well.
That said, he was a terrible GM. The firing of Sparky was unjustified. I still remember that Dave Bristol called Wagner 'Blade" long before Tom Hall acquired that nickname. Brsitol said he did so because Wagner had a knife to stick in your back.

10-07-2006, 03:54 PM
His legacy will be known as the GM who fired Sparky Anderson.

10-07-2006, 03:56 PM
Is it safe to say Tom Seaver was his best move?

10-07-2006, 09:48 PM
Sad news. I feel for his family. :(

Reminds me (long story)... back when I was younger (1977-79?) I earned "straight-A" tickets from the REDS. They had a program with schools that gave you free tickets for a certain GPA. The whole family (Mom, Dad, sister and me) went to the game. It rained hard before the start and until about 10:00 pm... major delay. It was a weekday game and a school night for me (13 yrs. old) and my sister (8 yrs old).

They used to start at 7:35 back then and once the delay lasted until 10:00 pm (not a single pitch yet) my Dad said let's go. We walked to the car in the Riverfront parking garage and drove to I-75. About 5 minutes north of the stadium Marty says on the radio, "And believe it or not they are going to start this game in about 15 minutes. There are still plenty of tickets available so come on down and see some baseball!" My Dad was livid and realized that there would be no rainout vouchers for our ticket stubs. I remember thinking that I had better not say anything during the car ride b/c Dad was not a happy camper. He was rambling on about how wrong it is for kids to get tickets for good grades and then be expected to stay up until after midnight on a school night to see that game.

The next day my Dad wrote a letter about starting so late and expecting working people and kids to pay for a game that doesn't start until after 10:00 pm on a weekday. He sent it to the REDS office and also sent a modified version to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Enquirer printed the letter in their Op-Ed "Letters to the Editor" section. A few day later someone in the REDS offices called my Dad. Asked if they could get his address and make it up to him. He gave the address.

A week or so later he got a letter... it was from Dick Wagner. It was fairly lengthly, very friendly and professional. Wagner apologized and explained the rules that are in MLB regarding who is responsible for making the rainout decision (deflect blame, I guess?!?). He included 4 tickets to a game against the Astros that was about 2 weeks later. The seats were about 20 rows behind home plate and were far better than the ones for the rain delay game. He also threw in food vouchers and a parking pass. I remember that Foster hit a GS in the game to put the REDS ahead for good as the REDS had a big comeback to win that game. My Dad thought it was great and I guess he felt that he had proved his point (like most Dads can be!)... also got a letter from the REDS bossman (he was/is a huge fan too and that has special meaning!). It also gave Dad a soft spot for Wagner despite Dad's dislike of the BRM dismantling that Wagner presided over at the time.

10-07-2006, 10:45 PM
Is it safe to say Tom Seaver was his best move?

If you are meaning Tom Seaver coming to Cincinnati, Bob Howsam pulled the trigger on that deal. Actually, Howsam cleaned house on that day.

Seaver was very unhappy with the Mets (owner/team prez/GM ????) M. Donald Grant and there was a rumor making its way around the newspapers that Seaver could be traded by the Mets to the Dodgers. I've always wondered if Howsam was afraid of the NL West rival Dodgers acquiring Seaver and so he quickly pulled the trigger on that deal.

Wagner eventually sent Seaver back to the Mets.

Chip R
10-08-2006, 10:36 PM
Dick Wagner: Bad GM; great marketing director.