Dave Bergman Tribute

The Detroit area baseball and business community lost a man of true grace and grit yesterday with the passing of Dave “Bergie” Bergman.  Best known for his exploits as a first sacker with the 1984 Major League Baseball World Champion Detroit Tigers, Dave was a regular fixture in the investment and philanthropic communities following his retirement from the Tigers in 1992.  A “fan favorite” and partner at Sigma Investment Counselors, Dave served his clients faithfully and with professionalism for nearly 25 years.  Dave was loved and respected by all of his colleagues at Sigma.

Following baseball, it was clear that Dave passionately embraced a mission to serve.  As his family, friends, co-workers, clients and student athletes knew, he gave of himself tirelessly and relentlessly.  His devotion to his best friend and former teammate Joe Niekro, following a sudden death from a brain aneurysm, led him on a crusade to redeem that grievous loss by establishing and raising funds for the Joe Niekro Foundation to prevent future sufferers from such an ordeal.  In the process, he firmly cemented the essence of what friendship represents to those around him.

Dave was also instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to organizations such as the Grosse Pointe Redbirds youth baseball club (founder) and C.A.T.C.H., the charity for kids founded by the late Sparky Anderson, former manager of the Detroit Tigers.

His motivation for putting forth the effort was pure – helping others to succeed.  He did it on the baseball field, in the locker room, in the office and in the gym.  And, he never sought out attention for himself in so doing.

Growing up in the rough and tumble blue collar suburbs of Chicago, he could “hang with ‘em” as he would often say, no matter the environment as he had a gift of being able to fit in.  He toured the White House, rubbed elbows with captains of industry, fraternized with baseball’s elites, and spent countless hours tossing batting practice to aspiring young baseball players.  That is what you call versatility!

As his friend and business partner for over two decades, I observed him on a daily basis.  He taught me much about managing people.  Of course, he learned from some of the most notable of characters including Sparky Anderson, Alan Trammell, Billy Martin and Kirk Gibson.  His mantra was, “If it’s not working, make adjustments.”

Dave served as a beloved mentor to me, a patient sounding board, a brave coach and a wise counselor.  He inspired me with his humility and decency.  I believe that the true measure of a man is the cumulative success that he breeds in others.  In this regard, Dave truly belongs in the Humanity Hall of Fame.

Dave was devoted to his family and is survived by his wife Cathy, children Troy (Jacqueline), Bria (Alex) and Erica, grandchildren Avery and Jackson and his siblings Sandy, Glen, Jeff and Steve.  They ask that memorial contributions be made to the Grosse Pointe Redbirds baseball organization.

Bob Bilkie