|(Pitcher: Dodgers 1954-1955; Kansas City A's 1956)|
|MLB Seasons||21 (managing)|
|Teams||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Debut||September 29 1976|
|Final Game||June 23 1996 (officially retires July 29)|
|LCS Appearances||1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1988|
|World Series Teams||1977, 1978, 1981, 1988|
|All Star Teams||Manager (1978, 1979, 1982, 1989)|
|Coach (1977, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1993)|
|Manager 2000 U.S. Olympic Team|
|Awards||NL Manager of the Year (1983, 1988 Co-manager w/Pirates Jim Leyland)|
|Hall of Fame (1997)|
Thomas Charles Lasorda (born September 22 1927 in Norristown, Pennsylvania) is a former Major League baseball pitcher and manager. In 1999 he marked his 50th year in one capacity or another with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the longest tenure anyone has had with the team (Vin Scully joined a year later).
Playing career[edit | edit source]
Tommy Lasorda signed with the Montréal Royals of the International League in 1950. He was a star pitcher for a total of nine seasons and is the winningest pitcher in the history of the team. He led Montréal to four straight Governors' Cups from 1951 to 1954, and a fifth championship in 1958 when he was voted the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher Award.
Lasorda broke into the major leagues in 1954 as a left-handed pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers. After two seasons in Brooklyn, he was traded to the Kansas City Athletics (1956). Playing in abbreviated stints, however, Lasorda never established himself as a major league-caliber player. He did not see major league playing time after the 1956 season and finished his career in 1960 with the Royals.
In 2006, Tommy Lasorda was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Managing career[edit | edit source]
is a member of
Hall of Fame
Lasorda's first off-field assignment with the Dodgers was as a scout from 1961-65. In 1966, he began managing at the lowest rung in minor league baseball, with the Rookie-Level Ogden, Utah, Dodgers of the Pioneer League. After spending three years managing in Rookie ball, Lasorda was promoted all the way to skipper of the Dodgers' AAA Pacific Coast League farm clubs, first with the Spokane Indians (1969-71) and then the Albuquerque Dukes (1972). He was extremely successful at the minor league level, winning five pennants in seven seasons, and guiding the careers of many future Dodgers who would form the nucleus of Lasorda's contending MLB teams.
In 1973, Lasorda became the third-base coach on the staff of Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston, serving for almost four seasons. He was widely regarded as Alston's heir apparent, and turned down several major league managing jobs elsewhere to remain in the Dodger fold. Finally, Lasorda became the Los Angeles manager September 29, 1976 upon Alston's retirement.
He led the team to consecutive National League championships in 1977 and 1978. Over 20 years at the helm of the Dodgers, he also led the team to two World Series championships (1981 and 1988). Although most do not regard Lasorda as a great strategist, no doubt he was able to inspire teams with his rah-rah style. He was not always the best judge of talent either. In 1993, Lasorda questioned whether then-Dodger Pedro Martinez, because of his slight build, had the size and stamina to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues. Lasorda's views led the Dodgers to trade Martinez to the Montreal Expos where Pedro began to build his Hall of Fame numbers. Many also blame Lasorda for over-working pitchers (especially Fernando Valenzuela and, to a lesser extent, Orel Hershiser) and eventually shortening their careers.
His final game was a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros, at Dodger Stadium (att. 35,467), on June 23, 1996. The following day (June 24) he drove himself to the hospital complaining of abdominal pains, and in fact he was having a heart attack. He officially retired on July 29, having compiled a 1599-1439 record as a manager. His 1599 career wins ranks 15th all-time in MLB history.
Lasorda came out of retirement to manage the United States team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. He led the Americans to the gold medal, beating heavily favored Cuba, which had won the gold medals at the two previous Olympics.
Lasorda coached the 2001 All-Star Game as third base coach. A batter released his bat while swinging, hitting Lasorda, but he was unharmed. Barry Bonds later gave him a chest protector.
Stats[edit | edit source]
- Total games: 3,040
- Wins: 1,599
- Losses: 1,439
- Percentage: .526
Life outside of baseball[edit | edit source]
Lasorda was equally famous for his colorful personality and outspoken opinions regarding players and other personnel associated with baseball. He had a number of obscenity filled tirades, a number of which were taped and became underground classics. The most famous of these is his "Dave Kingman" tirade (see below). He also had an altercation with Doug Rau on the pitching mound in the 1977 World Series which was recorded since he was wearing a microphone. Some considered Lasorda a boorish figure who was simply out to promote just one person -- himself. A classic name-dropper, he befriended Frank Sinatra (a well-known baseball fan) and other entertainment personalities during his career.
In 2006, Lasorda appeared in a series of commercials promoting the MLB Playoffs for ESPN and FOX, in which he tells fan of teams who missed the playoffs "I live for this, you live for this, and the whole world lives for this. To the TV! It's your duty, Judy." Ironically, his own Dodgers were ousted from the playoffs in the first round.
Tommy Lasorda and his wife presently live in Fullerton, California.
Quotes[edit | edit source]
- "What's my opinion of Kingman's performance!? What the fuck do you think is my opinion of it? I think it was FUCKING HORSESHIT. Put that in, I don't fucking care. Opinion of his performance!!? Shit, he beat us with three fucking home runs! What the fuck do you mean, 'What is my opinion of his performance?' How could you ask me a question like that, 'What is my opinion of his performance?' Shit, he hit three home runs! Shit. I'm fucking pissed off to lose the fucking game. And you ask me my opinion of his performance! Shit. That's a tough question to ask me, isn't it? 'What is my opinion of his performance?'" -- in response to a question from reporter Paul Olden about slugger Dave Kingman's hitting three home runs during a May 14, 1978 10-7 victory by the Cubs over the Dodgers. The "censored" version of this diatribe, with the many "beeps" adding to its humorous effect, can be heard on one of the Baseball's Greatest Hits CD's.
- "And I guaran-fucking-tee you this, when I pitched and I was gonna pitch against a fucking team that had guys on it like Bevacqua, I'd send a fucking limousine to get the cocksucker to make sure he was in the motherfucking lineup because I'd kick that cocksucker's ass any fucking day of the week. He's a fucking motherfucking bigmouth, I'll tell you that." 
- "I leave you with a saying: in this country, if you don’t pull for the Dodgers, there’s a good chance you may not get into heaven!" 
- "What he did wasn't entertainment. I love the Dodgers, and it wasn't right for him to stomp on the doll with the uniform. There were a lot of kids there, and he's showing them violence. He didn't need to do that." - after physically assaulting the Phillie Phanatic. 
Trivia[edit | edit source]
Lasorda managed nine players who won the National League Rookie of the Year award. As can be seen in the linked article, the winners came in two strings of four consecutive players. From 1979 to 1982, he managed Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Sax. From 1992 to 1995, he managed Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raúl Mondesí and Hideo Nomo. Before retiring during the 1996 season, he had also managed that year's rookie of the year, Todd Hollandsworth.
Lasorda's command of Italian made it easier for him to also learn Spanish, which he used while a player in Puerto Rico's Winter League in the early 1950s and which he uses to communicate with Latin players. For example, during the height of Fernando Valenzuela's career, ESPN would occasionally show a clip of Lasorda talking with Valenzuela in passable Spanish.
Lasorda was famous for always eating at Charlie Gitto's, a famous Italian restaurant with a location across from Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis. The proprietor would reserve a table for him whenever the Dodgers played the Cardinals, a tradition that continues to this day. 
Lasorda was a manager for the Dominican Winter Baseball League team Tigres del Licey or (Licey Tigers). As noted in that article, he led the team the 1973 Caribbean World Series Title in Venezuela with a series record of 5 wins and 1 loss.
Lasorda openly loathes the Phillie Phanatic. While playing the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium in 1988, he got into a on-field physical altercation with the Phanatic, while the mascot was in costume. The Phanatic was stomping on a dummy which represented the Dodgers manager. Lasorda, livid at the sight, assaulted the mascot, an incident which was unfortunately witnessed by many fans and children as well.
References[edit | edit source]
- Torn between two loves Lessons From a Life in and Out of Major-League Baseball. San Francisco Chronicle. sfgate.com (2005-11-30). Retrieved on 2006-11-30.
- Tommy Lasorda attacks the Philly Phanatic. Dodger Blues. dodgerblues.com.
[edit | edit source]
- Tommy's blog, "Tommy's World"
- Baseball Hall of Fame Biography
- Lasorda's manager page @ Baseball Reference.com
- Tommy's page @ Baseball Library.com
- Tommy Lasorda net worth, lifestyle, current finance, records etc
- Lasorda's retirement press conference @ CNN
- Tommy Lasorda Los Angeles Dodgers Online
- Tommy tearing into Dodger pitcher Doug Rau on the mound during Game 4 of the 1977 World Series (warning: generous use of explicit language)
|National League Manager of the Year
|National League Manager of the Year
|Los Angeles Dodgers Manager