UPDATED: Passing of Cranbrook Legend Jack Sanders
UPDATE: The Cranbrook community is invited to a memorial service for Jack Sanders, scheduled for 11:30 AM on Monday, April 30, at Christ Church Cranbrook. There will be a luncheon reception at the Cranbrook Dining Hall for all in attendance immediately following the service.
Beloved baseball coach and Cranbrook Schools icon Jack Sanders passed away early this morning, April 19, 2012. He was 86 years old. Sanders had been coaching baseball at Cranbrook since 1949.
Prior to last spring, the indomitable Sanders had not missed a single post-season game or end-of-season banquet since he started coaching – a seemingly impossible 62-year run that illustrated his absolute commitment to the generations of young athletes whose lives he touched.
Varsity baseball coach Andy Fairman worked with Sanders over the past ten years.
Says Fairman, “On the whole, Jack was a very private person. He was really all about baseball and coaching. His three great passions were baseball, coaching, and Cranbrook. He supported the kids off the baseball field – he went to see them at their basketball, hockey, and football games. That was his level of commitment.”
Fairman says that Sanders’ enduring popularity was obvious.
“When we would go on our spring trip to Florida, [alumni] came from all over the state to see him. We regularly had visitors to our dugout every year.”
It was often said that to Jack Sanders, baseball was more than just a game — it was a lifelong passion. From teaching throwing and fielding mechanics, to raking and brooming each base path after a Saturday doubleheader, Sanders made the diamond his second home. Jack would spend his weekends on the baseball diamond edging the grass, raking home plate and the pitcher’s mound, and grooming the infield to perfection. Often he would stop and rest by lying flat on his back on his beloved field.
After graduating from Cranbrook in 1942, Sanders attended Amherst College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and helped manage the varsity baseball team. When he returned to Cranbrook in 1949 as an assistant coach to Fred Campbell, Sanders began the historic coaching run that would land him a spot in the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame and the honor of having a field — Jack Sanders Field — named after him.
Sanders' name is also familiar to Detroiters who may have had the privilege of visiting one of his family's 50 Sanders candy shops, which operated for more than 100 years in Detroit and Ann Arbor.
The entire Cranbrook Schools community expresses its deepest sympathies to both Sanders’ surviving family, as well as the countless student athletes from the past six decades who remember him so fondly.
As additional information becomes available, Cranbrook Schools will share it though a follow-up communication in this space.
5/20/2012 3:52 PM
Jack Sanders will be miss by many students, parents and staff who got to know him through out the years and to work with him. It will not be easy to find someone to replace them.
5/14/2012 2:40 PM
I played Varsity Baseball for 3 years with this great man as a coach. I had a death in my family that in my senior year forced me to leave Cranbrook and return to my home in Kansas City. I had the credits to graduate and was heartbroken about this decision. Jack Sanders was someone that I asked what would you do and his response was “Ron you have a bright future but family is always first.”
Thank you, Jack for being there for a 17 year old kid who quickly had to become a man because life sometimes throws us a curveball. Thank you for being a part of the Cranbrook Educational Experience that provided the tools for an MBA degree, starting my own business, selling my business, running a county political party 8 yrs., serving on State Political Committee 2 yrs., National Delegate to Presidential Convention in St. Paul MN 2008, currently serving as an Elected County Auditor in MO, and aiming high toward my families future. You made me believe in myself when few did and I will honor the memory of you by duplicating this in young lives in my community. GOD BLESS…
4/30/2012 1:45 AM
Although I’d like to say that Coach Sanders forgot more about baseball than I will ever know, that is simply not true—Coach Sanders remembered everything. He could recall what the weather was like for a game against Bishop Foley in 1982, the count when a home run was hit against the University of North Carolina freshman team in the 1960s, and how many pitches you threw in the game last Saturday. Such a memory was not only a testament to his dedication to coaching, but also to his love for each and every one of the players that donned a Cranbrook uniform over the past six decades.
I believe the best gift one can give another is one’s time, and I am forever grateful for the countless hours Coach Sanders gave me. After my freshman year, for example, he came to no less than five of my summer baseball games. At the end of each game we might have talked a bit about how the game went, the glories of the 1947 Michigan football team, a book about the Civil War he once read, or perhaps about the many atrocities Fernando Rodney had committed in the previous night’s Tigers game. It brings a smile to my face to know that every Cranbrook player past and present has a similar story about how Coach Sanders was truly invested in his development.
Now that he is gone, I am truly sorry that future generations will not have the benefit of Coach Sanders’ daily companionship, sage advice, and warm smile to which the Cranbrook community has grown so accustomed. However, while I mourn Coach Sanders’ passing, I am comforted in the knowledge that generations of young men have and will continue to carry on his legacy of dedication and kindness both on an off the field.
-Adam Rosenfeld, Varsity Baseball Captain, 2009
4/23/2012 4:45 PM
Not many people fold into the fabric of an organization with the depth and commitment that Jack conveyed. He was and is a gem. Thank you, Jack, for all of your kind words and support. We miss you.
4/22/2012 8:24 AM
Loved Jack Sanders, He had respect from all the kids at Cranbrook. Great Person. Miss you Jack
4/20/2012 2:57 PM
Jack, you will be missed. I can remember back in the days when I had to coach 7th grade football in your outfield. Even in the fall, we could find you napping in the infield after grooming the field that you loved so much. I had to decide whether to us my "coaching voice" at practice and risk waking you up, or speak more softly and risk my players not hearing me as well. I chose to use my "coaching voice", but you never allowed it to interrupt your nap! Rest in peace, my friend, for your legacy lives on.
4/20/2012 2:29 PM
Turn and go", Jack,. You taught me that and much more. Now is your time to turn and go. You will be missed and remembered forever.
4/20/2012 2:28 PM
My late father, David Gold, played on Amherst's baseball team in the late 40s. He knew Jack Sanders from their days together at Amherst and spoke highly of him. May Mr. Sanders rest in peace.
4/20/2012 10:30 AM
Jack was a man who was a stabilizing force through many iterations and generations of what is/was Cranbrook School. He brought humor to ones foibles and a serious arm 'around the shoulder' and positive advice when it was needed. Playing for him for 2 summers and 3 years was an honor. Will always remenber his exortation to strive to persevere towards competence. Enjoyed saying hello to him as recently as a couple months ago; of course at a Cranbrook event. Jack - you are missed and your passing leaves a huge empty spot in the essence of Cranbrook ideals.
4/20/2012 10:25 AM
Thank you Mr. Sanders. I never played baseball at Cranbrook; but always appreciated your presence and longevity. Yiu will be missed by all that came into contact with you
4/20/2012 8:53 AM
Jack's knowledge of baseball was extraordinary, and every student, player or parent wise enough to spend time with Jack learned a great deal about that special sport. But Jack taught much more than the mechanics and art of baseball. He taught all of us the importance of fair play, of being totally committed to whatever we do, and of doing our very best at all times. Those are lessons for life, and in my mind that is why he was such a remarkable coach and teacher at Cranbrook.
4/19/2012 7:05 PM
An exceptionally great man who touched many lives, including mine. We miss you Mr. Sanders, but your legacy and your lessons live on.
4/19/2012 3:21 PM
I had a chance to randomly meet up with Mr. Sanders while I was home over Christmas this past December. Of course I found him working with some players in the batting cages at Keppel Gym. What an amazing passion for baseball this man had. It was an honor to call him "Coach". RIP Mr. Sanders. You will be missed.
Captain, 1992 Cranbrook Varsity Baseball
4/19/2012 2:54 PM
Incredible how many lives Jack touched. He will be remembered by all for his passion, commitment, professionalism, and dedication to instilling in young men the ideals of respect for baseball and the game of life.
Post a Comment
|To verify that you are not an automated system, please enter the characters in the image.|