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Tommy Lasorda
#2 | Manager | Los Angeles Dodgers


Walter Emmons Alston: "Smokey"

     Following a great lineup of Dodger managers - Wilbert Robinson, Max Carey, Casey Stengel, Leo Durocher, Bert Shotton, Charlie Dressen, and Walt Alston - was Tommy Lasorda, one of the most enthusiastic and successful managers in baseball history.  He wasn't as abrasive and confrontational as Durocher, nor was he as genial and quietly cerebral as Alston.  Nevertheless, he was colorful, popular, and successful - in 1977-78, he became the first NL manager to win pennants his first two seasons.  The Dodgers lost the WS to the Yankees in six games each time.  After the 1981 player strike, Lasorda's Dodgers defeated the Astros in the divisional playoff; beat the Expos in the LCS and the Yankees in the Series.

 

     Known for his fondness of pasta and pitching, the jovial Lasorda led the Dodgers to 8 division titles and 2 World Championships (1981 and 1988) in 20 seasons as manager.  In 1988, he shared NL Manager of the Year honors with the Pirates Jim Leyland and took the Dodgers to an upset win over the Mets in the LCS and a shocking WS upset of the A's. A media favorite, Lasorda is noted for his good humor and his love of Italian cooking

 

     As a pitcher, he never quite made it in the majors.  Lasorda compiled a 98-49 record in nine years with Montreal of the International League, the Dodgers' top farm club, 1950-1955 and 1958-1960. His best records were 17-8 in 1953 and 18-6 in 1958, when he led the league in victories, complete games, and shutouts.  He received just two brief trials with the Dodgers; on May 5, 1955 he tied a ML record with three wild pitches in one inning.  Lasorda was demoted in 1955 to make room for bonus baby Sandy Koufax, then sold to Kansas City in 1956, but couldn't stick with the Athletics or Yankees either.

     Stuck in the high minors, Lasorda moved to Los Angeles a year before the Dodgers did, with the Angels of the Pacific Coast League.  After his second stint in Montreal, Lasorda became a Dodger scout in 1961 and then a minor league manager in 1965.  He won five pennants and finished second twice and third once through 1972, with only one record below .500.

 

     After his retirement, he became a Dodgers executive, and in 1999 completed his 50th year in the organization.  He also managed the United States to its first-ever gold medal in baseball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

 

"My heart bleeds Dodger blue, and when I die, I'm going to the big Dodger in the sky."

Tommy Lasorda

 

"He wants Texas back."

Tommy Lasorda, about Fernando Valenzuela

 

"He wants Texas back."

Tommy Lasorda, about Fernando Valenzuela

 

"I walk into the clubhouse and it's like walking into the Mayo Clinic.  We have four doctors, three therapists and five trainers.  Back when I broke in, we had one trainer who carried a bottle of rubbing alcohol and by the seventh inning 

he had drunk it all."

Tommy Lasorda

 

"When we win, I'm so happy I eat a lot. When we lose, I'm so depressed, I eat a lot. When we're rained out, I'm so disappointed I eat a lot."

Tommy Lasorda

 

"Say 'Dodgers' and people know you're talking about baseball. Say 'Braves' and they ask, 'What reservation?' Say 'Reds' and they think of communism. Say 'Padres' and they look around for a priest."

Tommy Lasorda

 

"There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens."

Tommy Lasorda


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