COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Tommy Lasorda’s best moment as a player might’ve been striking out 25 batters in one game during his Canadian-American League days.
However, his accomplishments as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976-96 are rivaled by few in major league history.
Fourteen years ago this week, on July 29, 1996, Lasorda officially retired from the blue and white, capping a 21-year managerial stint with the Dodgers that included landmarks like the Kirk Gibson home run in the 1988 World Series and Fernandomania in 1981 – not to mention, four World Series appearances and two World Championships (1981 and 1988).
“Tommy was a great motivator,” said Danny Ozark, a former big league manager and a former Dodgers coach under Lasorda. “He treated his players and coaches tremendously, and everyone on the team would do anything for him.”
Thomas Charles Lasorda was born on Sept. 22, 1927, in Norristown, Pa., and has bled Dodger blue for more than 60 years as a player and manager.
Lasorda won 1,599 games as the Dodgers’ skipper and took home World Series rings with wins over the Yankees in 1981 and the Athletics in 1988. His club also won National League pennants in 1977 and 78, losing to the Yankees in the World Series both times.
The Veterans Committee wasted no time in inducting Lasorda to the Baseball Hall of Fame, voting him in in 1997 – less than a year after his retirement.
Lasorda added red and white to his favorite color of Dodger blue in the year 2000 when he led the United State Olympic baseball team to its first ever gold medal at the summer games in Sydney, Australia.
Thomas Lawrence was the public relations intern in the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program Class of 2009 at the Baseball Hall of Fame