Tommy Lasorda Wiki
Tommy Lasorda Biography
Tommy Lasorda, who claimed to have “bled the Dodgers” from the moment he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1949 and decades later became the colorful and successful manager of the transplanted Los Angeles Dodgers, winning two Series titles. World Cup, he died Thursday night.
Lasorda was 93 years old. The Dodgers announced that Lasorda suffered sudden cardiac arrest at his home and was rushed to the hospital. Lasorda was pronounced dead at 10:57.
“Words cannot express my feelings,” former Mets manager Bobby Valentine tweeted. “A friend and mentor for 52 years is no longer with us. Tommy, no one will ever fill the void you left. Thanks for everything. RIP.”
Lasorda had just been released from the hospital Tuesday after being admitted in mid-November for undisclosed reasons.
In October, he was at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas in his role as special adviser to team president Mark Walter to watch the Dodgers beat the Rays and win their first world championship since their 1988 team, highlighted by the victory of Kirk Gibson. Dennis Eckersley’s home run, accomplished the feat.
In 20 seasons as their manager (1977-96), Lasorda led the Dodgers to two world championships (1981, 1988), four National League pennants and eight division titles.
Tommy Lasorda celebrates the Dodgers winning the World Series in 1988
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 in his first year of eligibility and, at the time of his death, he was the oldest living member of the Hall.
Not bad for a left-handed pitcher who appeared in just 26 major league games in parts of three seasons with the Dodgers and Kansas City Athletics. Lasorda, who originally signed with the Phillies from his hometown, made three relief appearances for the Dodgers in 1954, was sent to the minors when the Dodgers were left with an 18-year-old southpaw named Sandy Koufax.
“When [general manager] Buzzie [Bavasi] told me he was going to fall, I told him he was crazy,” Lasorda told MLB.com in 2005. “That guy couldn’t hit a barn door from 50 feet and I won. 20 games [in the minors]. So I can honestly say that it took the best southpaw in the history of the game to replace me.
“I still think they made a mistake.”
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Lasorda made his only outing with Brooklyn the following season. He was retired after the first inning after throwing three wild pitches and getting attacked on a play at the plate when St. Louis’ Wally Moon scored on that third wild pitch. Lasorda was sent to the minors, where he had a long career, soon after and never pitched again for the Dodgers.
After his playing career, which also included a stint with the Yankees Triple-A team in Denver, where he came under the influence of Bears manager Ralph Houk, Lasorda became a Dodgers scout, then went on to made his way through minor league training. ranks before being named the Dodgers’ third base coach in 1973.
After the 1976 season, Lasorda replaced Hall of Famer Walter Alston as manager for the Dodgers and quickly began to make his way to Cooperstown, winning pennants in his first two seasons when his teams fell to the Yankees in the World Series. . During his tenure, he guided nine players to the National League Rookie of the Year honors, including Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Sax and Mike Piazza.
He also befriended presidents and dozens of Hollywood stars, including Frank Sinatra, Don Rickles, Milton Berle, and Robert Wagner, and photos of his famous friends littered the walls of his office at Dodger Stadium.
“I tell you, only in this great nation of ours could the third-row pitcher on the Norristown, Pennsylvania high school team, the son of an Italian immigrant, be friends with some of the best artists in the world,” he told Sports. Illustrated in 1984.
“I’m the only general manager in baseball,” former Dodgers general manager Al Campanis once said, “who, when he wants to communicate with his manager, has to call the Oval Office of the White House, Caesars Palace. in Las Vegas or restaurant in Exton, Pennsylvania. ”
Among the photographs, Lasorda made 3,038 major league games, winning 1,599. While he was known for his salty language at the ballpark, his wife Jo his claimed that neither she nor her children had heard that side of her husband. Lasorda’s tirade when asked by a reporter what he thought of Dave Kingman after the Cubs slugger hit three home runs and drove eight runs in the 1978 Dodgers loss remains a classic.
“What’s my opinion of Kingman’s performance?,”
Lasorda said. “What [expletive] do you think is my opinion on this? I think it was [expletive]. Put that. I don’t care [expletive]. What is my opinion of his performance? [expletive]. He beat us with three home runs [expletives].
“What [expletive] do you mean, what is my opinion of his acting? How can you ask me such a question? I’m going [expletive] to lose a [expletive] game, and you ask my opinion on his performance? ”
Lasorda’s last game was on June 23, 1996, a 4-3 victory over the Astros. The next day he went to the hospital where he learned that he was having a heart attack. He retired five weeks later.
Lasorda came out of retirement to lead the United States national team to a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics, beating Cuba’s favorite team. He is the only man to have led a team to a World Series title and an Olympic gold medal.
Thomas Charles Lasorda was born on September 22, 1927 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the second of five siblings born to Sabatino and Carmella Lasorda.
He was a childhood friend of Vincent Piazza, the father of Hall of Fame recipient Mike Piazza. Lasorda is the godfather of Thomas Piazza, Mike’s younger brother, and it was Lasorda who lobbied for the Dodgers to take the unknown Mike Piazza in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft, the 1390th player selected.
Lasorda is survived by his wife of 70 years, Jo, a daughter Laura and a granddaughter. His son Thomas Jr. died in 1991.
A tireless supporter of various charities, Lasorda spent many of his off-seasons traveling from coast to coast to raise money. While he charged five-figure conference fees from corporate clients, he said he “never took a penny” from churches or schools.
“I feel like I owe people something,” he once said. “I want to go out and spread the word about the Dodgers and baseball. … You could say it’s like putting something back in the pot. I have a lot to be thankful for. “