Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda was known for his fiery temperament as the manager of the Dodgers for 21 seasons. He retired from baseball with a 1599-1439 record, four National League pennants and two World Series titles.
He died from heart failure on Jan. 7, 2021. Lasorda was 93 years old.
Lasorda entered baseball’s Hall of Fame as a manager in 1997.
Lasorda was infamous for his witty interviews and his abilities to handle reporters. All of those things were for one reason: He was proud to be a Dodger.
He once declared, “I bleed Dodger blue and when I die, I’m going to the big Dodger in the sky.”
Throughout his career as a manager in minor league and Major League baseball, Lasorda had the opportunity to manage nine Rookies of the Year including Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Piazza, Steve Sax and Hideo Nomo.
Lasorda’s Dodgers won the World Series in 1981 and 1988.
He described the World Series this way, “The best possible thing in baseball is winning the World Series. The second best thing is losing the World Series.”
Lasorda loved to eat and loved share meals with his players and his friends including Frank Sinatra. Over the years, Lasorda would address his own changing waistline.
“When we win, I’m so happy I eat a lot. When we lose, I’m so depressed, I eat a lot.,” he said in an interview with Forbes. “When we’re rained out, I’m so disappointed I eat a lot.”
While his greatest success came as a manager, Lasorda’s baseball career path began as a player.
Lasorda was just 17 years old when he pitched in his first professional baseball game for Philadelphia’s D League team in 1945. His minor league career had some highlights including winning 17 games in 1953 and 18 games in 1958. He missed two seasons, 1946 and 1947, while serving in the Army.
He would get some chances in the Major League with Brooklyn in 1954 and 1955 and with the Kansas City Athletics in 1956. His MLB career totals are an 0-4 record, a save and a 6.48 ERA.
Following his managing career, Lasorda continued to have a presence in the Dodgers organization and frequently attended games.