Sparma was a star quarterback at Ohio State, but quit after three years because of
differences with coach Woody Hayes. He signed for a bonus with the Tigers in 1963,
and had mixed success, often battling control problems. After going 2-7 in 1966,
he rebounded for a 16-9 mark in 1967. He lost his spot in the rotation after a run-in
with manager Mayo Smith
late in 1968, but, called on to start in an emergency on
September 17, he defeated the Yankees to clinch the pennant.