Tommy Lasorda has had one of the most versatile and successful baseball careers of all time. His fifty year career started a as a player, scout, coach, manager, and finally executive.
When baseball fans think of the Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda is the name that pops into the mind. And by no coincidence. Lasorda, now vice-president of the team, has been associated with the Dodgers for almost fifty years. A true winner, he exemplifies what is best in the game known as America's national pastime due to his ability, energy, attitude, character and spirit. And on March 5, 1997, the baseball world recognized him with its highest honor in his first year of eligibility—an election to the Hall of Fame.
Lasorda was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, on August 3, 1997. He is only the 14th Hall of Famer to be elected as a manager. To honor the occasion, the Dodgers renamed the main street that leads to the entrance at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida, as Tommy Lasorda Lane. He also had his uniform No. 2 retired in a pre-game ceremony at Dodger Stadium on August 15, 1997.
Tommy Lasorda retired as manager of the Dodgers in 1996, after twenty seasons at the helm. One of the most popular and outspoken figures in professional sports, he led the team to two World Series championships, four National League pennants, and six divisional crowns during his remarkable career.
Tommy Lasorda took over the reins as manager of the Dodgers from the Walt Alston on September 29, 1976. Prior to this position, he served as a player, scout, minor league manager, and coach for the organization. He went on to accumulate a 1613-1455 career mark, trailing only Alston in length of service and wins as a Dodger manager. In fact, Lasorda is only the fourth manager in major league history to manage one team for twenty or more years, surpassed only by legendary managers: Alston, Connie Mack, and John McGraw.
Among his accomplishments, Tommy Lasorda ranks 12th on the all-time list in victories and games. His winning percentage (.526) ranks him 23rd and his number of postseason games (61) places him 3rd, behind Casey Stengel and Bobby Cox. Tommy Lasorda is one of the few managers to have managed over 3000 games. He is only the second manager in National League history to win league titles in his first two full years of managing (1977-1978). He managed the National League in four All-Star games and served as a coach in five. He managed nine rookies of the year, two Cy Young Award winners, and a National League Most Valuable Player. As a minor league manager, Lasorda compiled an outstanding record as well. His teams won five pennants in seven seasons. In 1970, his team won the pennant by an incredible twenty-six games, and he was voted Minor League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News.
Lasorda's career as a major league pitcher consisted of two seasons with the Dodgers and one year with Kansas City. He pitched in four games for the 1955 Dodgers—the first Dodger team ever to win a World Series. He holds the all-time International League record for career wins (125) for the Montreal Royals. Lasorda has won numerous awards including three Manager of the Year awards and the Humanitarian Award from the Philadelphia BBWWA chapter. He was the recipient of the first Milton Richman Memorial Award by the Association of Professional Baseball Players of America.
An entertaining and powerful speaker, Lasorda captivates, educates and energizes his audiences with his colorful stories, humor, and lessons for life.