Tommy Lasorda pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Kansas City Athletics during the 1950s, but he made his true mark on the game as a manager. As skipper of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976 until 1996, he would amass 1,599 managerial wins and 2 World Series titles while serving as a leader to many great ballplayers, such as Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, Eric Karros and Mike Piazza. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
I completed this sketch card in June 2012.
10 random facts about Tommy Lasorda
- Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an undrafted free agent in 1945, he would miss the 1946 and 1947 seasons due to a stint in the U.S. Army.
- In 1973, Lasorda became the third-base coach on the staff of Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston. He was widely regarded as Alston's heir apparent, and turned down several major league managing jobs elsewhere to remain in the Dodger fold.
- Upon retiring as manager of the Dodgers, he became the team's Vice President and then its Senior Vice President.
- His 1,599 career managerial wins ranks 16th all-time.
- His 16 wins in 30 NL Championship games managed were the most of any manager at the time of his retirement.
- His 61 post-season games managed ranks fourth all-time behind Bobby Cox, Casey Stengel and Joe Torre.
- For years, Lasorda appeared in television advertisements for Slim Fast diet shakes and Rolaids antacids.
- He managed the United States to its first-ever gold medal in baseball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
- On May 31, 1948, as a minor league pitcher with the Schenectady Blue Jays, Lasorda set a Canadian-American League record by striking out 25 batters in a 15-inning game.
- Having played for the minor league Montreal Royals of the International League during his career, he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.