Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Friday marks one year since the death of Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, who spent more than seven decades in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He first joined the Dodgers in 1948 after being selected from the Philadelphia Phillies in the Minor League Draft.
Lasorda enjoyed three stints with Brooklyn as a player and made his MLB debut in 1954. In parts of two big league seasons with the Dodgers, he pitched to a 7.62 ERA across eight games. Lasorda also saw time with the Kansas City Athletics in 1956.
Lasorda famously was optioned as a corresponding move to the Dodgers calling up Sandy Koufax. After retiring in 1960, Lasorda rejoined the Dodgers organization as a scout, a position he would hold from 1961-65.
He later went on to become a Minor League manager and third base coach for the Dodgers under skipper Walt Alston. Alston abruptly announced his retirement in September 1976, paving the way for Lasorda’s promotion to Dodgers manager.
In his two decades at the helm, Lasorda compiled a 1,599-1,439 record, leading the franchise to eight National League West division titles, four NL pennants and two World Series championships (1981, 1988).
Lasorda retired from his managerial duties in July 1996 due to health issues. After stepping down, he went on to hold multiple positions in the Dodgers front office, including vice president (1996-98) and interim general manager (1998).
Lasorda briefly came out of retirement to manage the United States team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Under his leadership, the USA won the gold medal over Cuba.
Lasorda also served as a third base coach in the 2001 MLB All-Star Game. Since the 2011 season, he held the position of special advisor to the chairman and frequently attended games at Dodger Stadium.
Lasorda was recently released from the hospital after a near two-month stay, but passed away last week at the age of 93 after suffering a sudden cardiopulmonary arrest. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Jo, their daughter and granddaughter.
Best Tommy Lasorda quotes
“There are three kinds of people in this world: people who make it happen, people who watch what happens, and people who wonder what happened.”
“Listen, if you start worrying about the people in the stands, before too long you’re up in the stands with them.”
“No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are, you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.”
“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.”
“I believe managing is like holding a dove in your hand. If you hold it too tightly you kill it, but if you hold it too loosely, you lose it.”
“The only Angels in Los Angeles are in heaven, and they’re looking down on the Dodgers.”
“Nobody thought we could win the division! Nobody thought we could beat the mighty Mets! Nobody thought we could beat the team that won 104 games! But we believed it!”
“The best possible thing in baseball is winning the World Series. The second best thing is losing the World Series.”
“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.”
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