Thomas Charles Lasorda (born September 22, 1927) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher, coach, and manager, who is best known for his two decades at the helm of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2018, he marked his 69th season in one capacity or another with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the longest tenure anyone has had with the team, edging Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully by three seasons. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in 1997. Since the death of Red Schoendienst in June 2018, he has been the oldest living Hall of Famer.
|Pitcher / Manager|
|Born: September 22, 1927|
|August 5, 1954, for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 8, 1956, for the Kansas City Athletics|
|Earned run average||6.48|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Veterans Committee|
Lasorda signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an undrafted free agent in 1945 and began his professional career that season with the Concord Weavers of the Class D North Carolina State League. He then missed the 1946 and 1947 seasons because of a stint in the United States Army. He served on active duty from October 1945 until spring 1947.
He returned to baseball in 1948 with the Schenectady Blue Jays of the Canadian–American League. On May 31, 1948, he struck out 25 Amsterdam Rugmakers in a 15-inning game, setting a professional record (since broken), and drove in the winning run with a single. In his next two starts, he struck out 15 and 13, gaining the attention of the Dodgers, who drafted him from the Phillies chain and sent him to the Greenville Spinners in 1949. Lasorda also pitched for the Cristobal Mottas in the Canal Zone Baseball League in Panama from 1948 through 1950, winning the championship in 1948. Lasorda played for Almendares (Cuba) in 1950–1952 and 1958–1960, compiling a 16–13 record in four seasons, including 8–3 with a 1.89 ERA in 1958–1959. Lasorda made his major league debut on August 5, 1954, for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Though he did not play in the 1955 World Series, he won a World Series ring as a member of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers.
He pitched for the Dodgers for two seasons, then for the Kansas City Athletics for one season after the Athletics bought him from the Dodgers. Kansas City traded Lasorda to the New York Yankees in 1956. He appeared in 22 games for the Triple-A Denver Bears in 1956–1957, and then was sold back to the Dodgers in 1957. During his brief tenure with the Bears, Lasorda was profoundly influenced by Denver skipper Ralph Houk, who became Lasorda's role model as an MLB manager.
"Ralph taught me that if you treat players like human beings, they will play like Superman," he told Bill Plaschke in the biography, I Live for This: Baseball's Last True Believer. "He taught me how a pat on a shoulder can be just as important as a kick in the butt."
Lasorda was first optioned to the Montreal Royals of the International League in 1950. He also played winter baseball for Almendares (Cuba) in 1950–1952 and 1958–1960, compiling a 16–13 record in four seasons, including 8–3 with a 1.89 ERA in 1958–1959. He pitched for Montreal in 1950–1954 and 1958–1960 and is the winningest pitcher in the history of the team (107–57) (Lasorda was sent back down to Montreal in 1954 after the Dodgers were forced to keep a young Sandy Koufax on their roster due to the Bonus Rule. He later joked that it took Koufax to keep him off the Dodger pitching staff). He led Montreal to four straight Governors' Cups from 1951 to 1954, and a fifth one in 1958. On June 24, 2006, he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He played only in the minors for the Yankees, and the Dodgers returned him to the Montreal team, where he was voted the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher in 1958, when he won his fifth minor league championship. The Dodgers released him on July 9, 1960.
Lasorda's first off-field assignment with the Dodgers was as a scout from 1961 to 1965. In 1966, he became the manager for the Pocatello Chiefs in the rookie leagues, then managed the Ogden Dodgers to three Pioneer League championships from 1966 to '68. He became the Dodgers' AAA Pacific Coast League manager in 1969 with the Spokane Indians (1969–1971). He remained manager of the AAA team when the Dodgers moved the farm club to the Albuquerque Dukes (1972). His 1972 Dukes team won the PCL Championship. Lasorda was also a manager for the Dominican Winter Baseball League team Tigres del Licey (Licey Tigers). He led the team to the 1973 Caribbean World Series title in Venezuela with a series record of 5 wins and 1 loss.
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.
|Tommy Lasorda's number 2 was retired by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1997.|
Lasorda became the Los Angeles Dodgers manager September 29, 1976, upon Alston's retirement. He compiled a 1,599–1,439 record as Dodgers manager, won two World Series championships in (1981 and 1988), four National League pennants, and eight division titles in his 20-year career as the Dodgers manager.
His 16 wins in 30 NL Championship games managed were the most of any manager at the time of his retirement. His 61 postseason games managed ranks fourth all-time behind Bobby Cox, Casey Stengel (all of whose games took place during the World Series in baseball's pre-divisional play days), and Joe Torre. He also managed in four All-Star games.
Lasorda managed nine players who won the National League Rookie of the Year award. The winners came in two strings of 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.
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, 1996. His 1,599 career wins ranks 20th all-time in MLB history.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 as a manager in his first year of eligibility. The Dodgers retired his uniform number (2) on August 15, 1997 and renamed a street in Dodgertown as "Tommy Lasorda Lane". In 2014, a new restaurant named "Lasorda's Trattoria" opened at Dodger Stadium.
Lasorda came out of retirement to manage the United States team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He led the Americans to the gold medal, beating favored Cuba, which had won the gold medals at the two previous Olympics. In doing so, he became the first manager to win a World Series Championship and lead a team to Olympic Gold Medal.
Lasorda coached the 2001 All-Star Game as third base coach. While at the plate, Vladimir Guerrero lost his bat while swinging, and it flew towards Lasorda, causing him to fall backwards, but Tommy was unharmed. As a joke, Giants outfielder Barry Bonds gave Lasorda a chest protector to wear while manning the third-base coaching box.
During spring training in 2008, the Dodgers were invited to play a series of exhibition games in China. Dodger manager Joe Torre took a group of players with him for that series. The majority of the team remained behind in Florida to finish out the Grapefruit League season. Lasorda briefly came out of retirement to manage the team while Torre was away.
Tommy Lasorda was named Vice-President of the Dodgers upon his retirement from managing in 1996. On June 22, 1998 he became the Dodgers interim General Manager upon the mid-season firing of Fred Claire. He resigned as General Manager after the season and was appointed as Senior Vice-President of the Dodgers. After the sale of the team to Frank McCourt, Lasorda took on his current position of Special Advisor to the Chairman where his responsibilities include scouting, evaluating and teaching minor league players, acting as an advisor and ambassador for the Dodgers' international affiliations, and representing the organization at more than 100 speaking engagements and appearances to various charities, private groups and military personnel each year.
|Team||From||To||Regular season record||Post–season record|
|G||W||L||Win %||G||W||L||Win %|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||1976||1996||3038||1599||1439||.526||61||31||30||.508|
Lasorda was famous for his colorful personality and outspoken opinions regarding players and other personnel associated with baseball. He had a number of obscenity-filled tirades, some of which were taped and became underground classics, like his explosion over Kurt Bevacqua.  The most famous of these is his "Dave Kingman tirade" in 1978, in which Lasorda ranted at reporter Paul Olden, who asked him about Kingman hitting three home runs against the Dodgers that day.
In 1996, he voiced the role of Lucky Lasorta, a Rough Collie commentating the baseball game in the film Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco He made a cameo appearance in the movie Ladybugs (1992) alongside Rodney Dangerfield. Lasorda portrayed the Dugout Wizard in the syndicated children's television show The Baseball Bunch. His other television credits playing himself include Silver Spoons, Who's The Boss?, CHiPs, Hart to Hart, Fantasy Island, Hee Haw, Simon & Simon, Everybody Loves Raymond and American Restoration.
Lasorda partially owned the food company Lasorda Foods, which was known primarily for pasta sauces that Lasorda stated were based on a family recipe passed down to his wife, Jo. In September 1989, the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Denver firm Discovery Capital Corp, of which Lasorda continued to own 10%. The parent company through which Lasorda maintained his stake in the Lasorda Foods, Lasorda Foods Holding Corp Inc., was initially based in Fountain Valley, California, before moving to Irvine and then Paramount. A Boca Raton, Florida-based company, Modami Services, acquired Lasorda Foods Holding Corp Inc. in August 1993. Lasorda and Lasorda Foods President Steven Fox, who together owned a majority of Lasorda Foods' stock, were paid in Modami shares.
In 2008, the government of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, which represents the fourth-highest of eight classes associated with the award. The decoration was presented in acknowledgment of his contributions to Japanese baseball.
Lasorda became a local celebrity in the Dominican Republic due to his many visits in search of young baseball talents in this land of many famous players in the major leagues, especially after becoming a devoted fan of the "chicharrones" (deep fried pork skins) commonly sold on the streets of the Villa Mella neighborhood of Santo Domingo.
With the death of Red Schoendienst on June 6, 2018, Lasorda is the oldest living Hall-of-Famer.
Lasorda and his wife Jo celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2010. They have resided in Fullerton, California, for more than 50 years and they have two children. They named a gymnasium and youth center in memory of their son, Tom Jr., in Yorba Linda, California on September 7, 1997. He was second born and one of five brothers. His brothers were Edward (deceased), Harry, Morris (deceased), and Joseph (deceased).
A practicing Roman Catholic, Lasorda was married in the Catholic Church to his Baptist wife and they raised their children in the faith as well. He would have a priest come to Dodger games on Sundays to offer mass for Catholic players.
In 1991, Tom, Jr. (known as "Spunky") died of complications related to AIDS. Lasorda denied that his son was gay; according to sportswriter Bill Plaschke, he insists his son died of cancer.
Lasorda is the godfather to Thomas Piazza, the younger brother of Major League Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza, both of whom are from Norristown. Thomas was named after Lasorda and it has been widely misstated by Steve Staats that Lasorda is Mike's godfather. Lasorda is also the godfather to Alex Avila, a catcher with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Alex's grandfather, Ralph Avila, is a former scout with the Dodgers and friend to Lasorda of over 50 years. Alex's middle name of Thomas was named for Lasorda.
On June 3, 2012, at age 84, Lasorda was hospitalized in New York City after suffering a heart attack. The heart attack was not considered to be overly serious.
Reviewing Going the Other Way by Billy Bean, with Chris Bell
The 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers season was the first season for new manager Walter Alston, who replaced Chuck Dressen, who had been fired during a contract dispute. Alston led the team to a 92–62 record, finishing five games behind the league champion New York Giants.
In addition to Alston, the 1954 Dodgers had two other future Hall of Fame managers on their roster in pitcher Tommy Lasorda and outfielder Dick Williams. First baseman Gil Hodges and reserve infielder Don Zimmer would also go on to successful managerial careers.1956 Kansas City Athletics season
The 1956 Kansas City Athletics season, the team's 56th in the American League and second in Kansas City, involved the A's finishing 8th in the American League with a record of 52 wins and 102 losses, 45 games behind the World Champion New York Yankees.1976 Los Angeles Dodgers season
The 1976 Los Angeles Dodgers finished the season in second place in the western division of the National League. The big news was when long-time manager of two decades Walter Alston resigned abruptly near the end of the season and was replaced by Tommy Lasorda who would manage the team for two decades himself.1977 Los Angeles Dodgers season
The 1977 Los Angeles Dodgers season saw Tommy Lasorda in his first full season at the helm of the Dodgers, replacing longtime manager Walter Alston as Manager of the team near the end of the previous season. The Dodgers won the National League West by 10 games and defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in four games in the NLCS, then lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series. This edition of the Dodgers featured the first quartet of teammates that hit 30 or more home runs: Steve Garvey with 33, Reggie Smith with 32, and Dusty Baker and Ron Cey, who both hit 30. The Dodgers duplicated this feat again 20 years later in 1997.1988 World Series
The 1988 World Series was the 85th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1988 Major League Baseball season. It was a best-of-seven playoff played between the American League (AL) champion Oakland Athletics and the National League (NL) champion Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Dodgers upsetting the heavily favored Athletics to win the Series in five games. It is best known for the pinch-hit walk-off home run hit by Dodgers outfielder and 1988 NL MVP Kirk Gibson, who could barely walk due to injuries suffered during the NLCS, against Hall-of-Fame Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley in Game 1. The Dodgers were the only MLB team to win more than one World Series title in the 1980s; their other World Series title during the decade came in 1981 (they also broke a 10-year chain of 10 different World Series champions going back to 1978).Although Gibson's home run has become an iconic World Series moment, it was series MVP Orel Hershiser who capped a dominant 1988 season in which he set the all time scoreless inning streak at 59 innings, recorded five straight shutouts, led the league with 23 wins and 267 innings, and won the Cy Young and Gold Glove awards. Hershiser was the MVP of the NLCS, starting three games, getting the save for Game 4, and shutting out the Mets in Game 7. In the World Series, he shut out the A's in Game 2, and pitched a two-run, complete game in the decisive Game 5 victory.
The Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League West division by seven games over the Cincinnati Reds then upset the New York Mets, four games to three, in the 1988 NLCS. The Oakland Athletics won the American League West division by thirteen games over the Minnesota Twins then swept the Boston Red Sox, four games to none, in the American League Championship Series.1997 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1997 followed the system in use since 1995.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and
elected Phil Niekro.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions and selected three people from multiple classified ballots:
Nellie Fox, Tommy Lasorda, and Willie Wells.1998 Los Angeles Dodgers season
The 1998 season saw the sale of the franchise from Peter O'Malley to the Fox Entertainment Group take effect. The new corporate executives would quickly anger Dodger fans when they bypassed General Manager Fred Claire and made one of the biggest trades in franchise history. They traded All-Star catcher Mike Piazza and starting third baseman Todd Zeile to the Florida Marlins for a package that included Gary Sheffield.
The team on the field performed poorly under all the stress and soon Fox fired Claire and manager Bill Russell, replacing them with former Manager Tommy Lasorda, who was appointed interim GM and Minor League manager Glenn Hoffman who took over for Russell. The team limped along to finish in third place in the National League West and more changes were in the offing for the following season.Bill Laskey
William Alan Laskey (born December 20, 1957) is a former professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1982 to 1986 and in 1988. He played collegiately for one season at Kent State University in 1978 after graduating from Toledo Woodward High School in 1975. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 2nd round of the 1978 amateur draft (June Secondary).
In 1982, Laskey was selected to the All-Star Game but was persuaded by Tommy Lasorda to relinquish his roster spot to make room for a soon-to-retire Phil Niekro as a gesture. Niekro went on to pitch seven more years, and Laskey was never selected for another All-Star Game. Laskey has said he "never should have trusted Tommy Lasorda."Ladybugs (film)
Ladybugs is a 1992 American sports-comedy film starring Rodney Dangerfield and directed by Sidney J. Furie. Dangerfield plays a Denver businessman who takes over a girls soccer team that the company he works for sponsors. The film also stars Jackée Harry as his assistant coach, Ilene Graff as his girlfriend, Jonathan Brandis as his girlfriend's son, and Vinessa Shaw as his boss' daughter.
Then Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda has a cameo, as do Blake Clark and longtime Dangerfield friend Chuck McCann.List of Los Angeles Dodgers managers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a Major League Baseball team that plays in the National League Western Division. The Dodgers began play in 1884 as the' Brooklyn Atlantics and have been known by seven nicknames since (including the Grays, Grooms, grooms, Superbas, and Robins), before adopting the Dodgers name for good in 1932. They played in Brooklyn, New York until their move to Los Angeles in 1958. During the teams existence, they have employed 32 different managers. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field.List of Major League Baseball All-Star Game managers
The following is a list of individuals who have managed the Major League Baseball All-Star Game over the years (except 1945), since its inauguration in 1933. Chosen managers and winning pennant managers manage teams including American and National Leagues.
No official MLB All-Star Game was held in 1945 (cancelled April 24, 1945) including the official MLB selection of that season's All-Stars (Associated Press All-Star Game; game was not played). MLB played two All-Star Games from 1959 through 1962.Los Angeles Dodgers award winners and league leaders
This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball franchise, including its years in Brooklyn (1883–1957).National League Championship Series
The National League Championship Series (NLCS) is a best-of-seven series played in October in the Major League Baseball postseason that determines the winner of the National League (NL) pennant. The winner of the series advances to play the winner of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in the World Series, Major League Baseball's championship series.Ogden Dodgers
The Ogden Dodgers were a Minor League Baseball team that played in the Pioneer Baseball League from 1966 to 1973. Future Baseball Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda managed the team from 1966-1968.Ogden Raptors
The Ogden Raptors are a minor league baseball team in the Pioneer League based in Ogden, Utah, United States. The club plays at Lindquist Field.
The Raptors are one of six farm teams of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pitcher Ben Sheets, first baseman Prince Fielder, shortstop J. J. Hardy and third baseman Bill Hall formerly played for the Raptors. Hall of Famer Frank Robinson played for the Ogden Reds, a previous Ogden franchise in the Pioneer League. Also, Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed the Ogden Dodgers to three consecutive Pioneer League titles from 1966–1968 and was present for the announcement that the Ogden franchise would again be an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Raptors' inaugural 1994 season is chronicled in the book Minor Players, Major Dreams (1997, University of Nebraska Press) by author-in-uniform Brett Mandel.During their second season of play, the Raptors set a league record for most runs scored in a single game, defeating the Helena Brewers 33–10 on August 27, 1995.The official mascot of the Ogden Raptors minor league baseball team is Oggie. Oggie is a cartoon green raptor who wears the white home uniform with a ? as the number. He is a regular part of Raptors home games and events.
Prior to Ogden, the Raptors' franchise played in Pocatello, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Calgary, Alberta.
On September 17, 2017, the Raptors beat the Great Falls Voyagers 8-3 to win their first ever Pioneer League championship.The Baseball Bunch
The Baseball Bunch is an American educational children's television series that originally aired in broadcast syndication from August 23, 1980 through the fall of 1985. Produced by Major League Baseball Productions, the series was a 30-minute baseball-themed program airing on Saturday mornings, which featured a combination of comedy sketches and Major League guest-stars, intended to provide instructional tips to Little League aged children. Throughout its five season run, the series starred Johnny Bench, Tommy Lasorda and The Famous San Diego Chicken alongside a group of eight children (boys and girls ranging in age from 8–14) as "The Bunch".Tigres del Licey
Tigres del Licey is a professional baseball team founded in 1907 based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It is one of the two franchises of the Capital city of the country, the oldest and the most successful team in the Dominican league, with (22 actual LIDOM titles) and 10 Caribbean Series as of January, 2017. Some of their best players have included Alonzo Perry, Pedro González, Manuel Mota, Guayubín Olivo, César Gerónimo, and Elvio Jiménez. Many of the best Dominican players and Major League Baseball players have taken part in the long history of the Tigres, including Tommy Lasorda, baseball hall-of-famer who took the team to the 1973 Caribbean World Series title. The Licey logo is a cursive "L". The team, nicknamed "El Glorioso" has a passionate fan base.Tommy Lasorda Baseball
Tommy Lasorda Baseball is a baseball game released for the Sega Mega-Tech arcade system and later as one of the six launch titles for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis console in the North American region.Wally Burnette
Wallace Harper Burnette (June 20, 1929 – February 12, 2003) was an American professional baseball player who pitched for the Kansas City Athletics from 1956-1958. He was born in Blairs, Virginia.
In three seasons, he compiled a win-loss record of 14–21, appeared in 68 games, started 27 games, completing 5 games and once pitching a shutout, pitched 262.7 innings, walked 122, struck out 122, gave up 259 hits, and had a career ERA of 3.65. His key pitch was his knuckleball.Burnette was signed as an amateur free agent by the New York Yankees, but was traded to Kansas City for future Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda on July 11, 1956.
Burnette's daughter said of him:
He thought the salaries [current major leaguers] were drawing were ridiculous. What he made then wasn't even 1 percent of what they're making now. He played for the love of the game.