When people talk about the most passionate Dodger in history, Tommy Lasorda is the first name to be mentioned. His persona is legendary. He is often used in conversational debates, and comparisons to other managers. People usually say things like, that guy should be more like Tommy, or this guy needs to pull a Tommy and light a fire under these guy’s buts.(I know I have been guilty of making those comparisons before) He has been the role-model for aspiring managers looking to recreate Tommy’s success. Tommy was the ultimate motivator, a constant competitor. The man bleeds Dodger blue and always has for over 60 years.
Tommy has done everything with the Dodgers. What hasn’t the man done? He was a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 40’s and 50’s, he became a coach, then manager of their then triple-A affiliate Albuquerque Dukes. He led the Dukes to a PCL championship and soon after was promoted to the Dodgers as the third base coach. He served as third base coach under then manager Walter Alston for a few years, before he finally took over as manager once Alston retired in 1977. Tommy managed the Dodgers from 1977-1996, winning seven division titles, four National League pennants, and two World Series championships. Once his managing days were over, he later became a club executive, serving as interim general manager, Vice President for a short time, and now serves as an ambassador for the Dodgers and the game of Baseball. Even today at age 85, he still flies around the country giving motivational speeches and preaching Dodger Baseball to all who will listen. Believe me when Tommy speaks you listen. Eventually Tommy was inducted into the Baseball hall of fame in 1997, and later had his uniform number 2 retired by the Dodgers.
Tommy Lasorda is tied with Vin Scully as the longest tenured Dodger in the organization. Tommy, like Vin Scully, is entering his 64th season with the franchise. Today he serves as the special advisor to the chairman. His responsibilities today are scouting and developing, acting as an advisor, and ambassador for the Dodgers, and doing various speaking engagements. He also regularly attends charity functions. Tommy has never been one to shy away from the spotlight. He yelled, he screamed, he hugged his players. his tirades were made of legends. He truly cared about every player who played for him. Nobody had ever seen anyone like Tommy before. He loved the Dodgers with every bone in his body. He was truly one of a kind. There will never ever be another Tommy Lasorda.
Tommy has been one of my heroes since I was a kid. I grew up watching him manage, and have always admired his passion for the Dodgers. He is also the namesake of our site. So in honor of the man who embodies the spirit of Dodger Baseball, Lasorda’s Lair is declaring this week Tommy Lasorda Appreciation week. We will be honoring the greatest manager in Dodger history by counting down the top ten Tommy Lasorda moments of all time. Starting later this week, we will release one per day until we count down to the number one Tommy moment of all time. It’s a fun way to lead up to the beginning of spring training.
In the meantime, check out the article Eric Stephen of Truebluela did on Tommy. Eric is honoring the 25th anniversary of the 1988 world championship Dodger team by profiling every member of the last Dodger World Series Championship team.
Until then be on the lookout for the start of our countdown of the top ten Tommy moments of all time. You may be surprised as to what famous or infamous moments made the countdown. What’s your favorite Tommy moment? Let us know in the comments. We hope you will Join us as we honor our site namesake. Come and celebrate Tommy Lasorda appreciation week with us!