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Scherger with the Nashville Sounds in 1979
|Born: November 10, 1920|
Dickinson, North Dakota
|Died: October 13, 2011 (aged 90)|
Charlotte, North Carolina
George Richard Scherger (November 10, 1920 – October 13, 2011), nicknamed "'Sugar Bear", was an American professional baseball coach, player and manager. He was a coach in Major League Baseball for 13 years, all with the Cincinnati Reds, and a longtime minor league infielder and manager. Scherger's playing career stretched from 1940 to 1956, but he never made it higher than the Brooklyn Dodgers' Class C California League team, the Santa Barbara Dodgers, from 1951 to 1953. Scherger also spent three years in the U.S. armed forces during World War II.
Born in Dickinson, North Dakota, Scherger threw and batted right-handed, stood 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and weighed 170 pounds (77 kg). He was a player-manager in the last nine years of his active career, including his tenure with Santa Barbara, and managed and coached in the minors from 1961 to 1969. He joined the Reds' organization in 1967.
When Sparky Anderson was named manager of the Reds for the 1970 season, Scherger—who had managed the young Sparky in the Brooklyn farm system—was hired as first base coach. With the exception of third base coach Alex Grammas, who left the Reds in 1976 to manage the Milwaukee Brewers for two seasons, Anderson's coaching staff of Scherger, Grammas, Larry Shepard (pitching coach) and Ted Kluszewski (hitting coach) remained intact from Anderson's hiring to his dismissal after the 1978 season. During that time, Cincinnati won five NL West Division titles, four National League pennants and two World Series titles.
After Anderson's firing, Scherger was named manager of the Double-A Southern League's Nashville Sounds. In 1979, he managed the Sounds to the SL championship. In 1982, Scherger took over as skipper of the Triple-A American Association's Indianapolis Indians and won the league playoff title. He then returned to the Reds as a coach from 1983 to 1986 and managed the Sounds for part of 1988. He was described by former Reds' star and manager Pete Rose as the "smartest baseball mind in the world".