Earlier this week, Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda passed away due to a heart attack at age 93. Not surprisingly, this death was heavily mourned by the baseball community.
Tommy Lasorda was the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976 to 1996. He spent 71 years with the franchise, and it started in 1949 as a pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization. He made his debut in 1954, and also made one start in 1955. He set a record that day, although not a good one. It was most wild pitches in one inning, with 3, but a record nonetheless. He was sent down to the Dodgers minor league affiliate in Montreal, a team that would inspire the MLB to create the Expos. The reason he was sent down? To make room for future Dodgers Cy Young, Sandy Koufax. He retired from playing in 1960.
Shortly after, he was hired by then Dodgers GM Al Campanis as a scout. After this, Lasorda made his way up through the minor leagues as a coach, eventually becoming the Dodgers third base coach in 1973, under four time World Series Champion Walter Alston who, along with Lasorda, both had their numbers retired as managers for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1976, upon Alston’s retirement, Lasorda became the skipper for the team.
His first year was 1977, in which the Dodgers made the World Series, but lost to the hated Yankees, led by the record-breaking infield of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Ron Cey. In 1981 though, he won his first World Series, and in 1988, he won another. That was the World Series when Kirk Gibson hit his famous game one walk-off home run. Lasorda managed the team for eight more years after this, but he retired in 1996 due to a heart attack. He has the 22nd most managerial wins in MLB history, and was inducted into the hall of fame in 1997. His number, 2, is retired by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lasorda frequently attended Dodger games after retirement. He would go to cheer on his beloved Dodgers, and acted as the general manager for a couple of years. He will surely go down as one of the greatest Dodgers in history, along with Vin Scully, Clayton Kershaw, Sandy Koufax, and Jackie Robinson. Lasorda often spoke that “Only Dodger fans go to heaven,” as well as the “Great Dodger in the Sky.” Seven years ago, Lasorda said that his one wish before he died was to see the Dodgers win the fall classic one more time. He got to see that in 2020, as Mookie Betts and Corey Seager lead Los Angeles to their first title since 1988. Rest in Peace Tommy Lasorda. Thank you for your contributions to the game.
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