Tommy Lasorda


"My heart bleeds Dodger blue." Lasorda has claimed, during his 35-plus years in the Dodger organization. After a brief career as a left-handed pitcher, Tommy Lasorda became one of the most enthusiastic and successful managers in baseball history.

Known for his fondness of pasta and pitching. the jovial Lasorda, was able to inspire teams with his rah-rah style. In over 20 years at the helm of the Dodgers he compiled a 1,599-1,439 record (15th all-time in MLB history), won two World Championships, four National League pennants and eight division titles. His 16 wins in 30 National League Championship Series games managed were the most of any manager at the time of his retirement in 1996. His 61 postseason games managed rank third all-time behind Bobby Cox and Casey Stengel.

Promoted to the Dodgers as a coach, Lasorda served as Walter Alston's understudy until September 29. 1976. When Alston retired Lasorda inherited the team and, in his first two seasons, led the Dodgers to league titles, joining St. Louis' Gabby Street (1930-3 1) as the only managers in National League history to do so. Lasorda would again lead the Dodgers to division titles in 1983 and 1985. but lost both times in the League Championship Series. In 1988, he shared National League Manager of the Year honors with the Pirates Jim Leyland and took the Dodgers to an upset win over the Mets in the League Championship Series and a shocking World Series upset of the A's.

Lasorda's final game was a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on June 23. 1996. The following day he drove himself to the hospital complaining of abdominal pains, and in fact he was having a heart attack. He officially retired on July 29, and eventually became an executive with the Dodgers.

Regarded by many as baseball's most popular ambassador, Lasorda came out of retirement to manage the United States team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. He led the Americans to the gold medal, beating heavily favored Cuba, which had won the gold medals at the two previous Olympics.

In 1997, Lasorda was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in his first year of eligibility. He was the 14th manager and 52nd Dodger inducted into the Hall of Fame. Lasorda's uniform number (2) was retired by the Dodgers on Aug. 15, 1997 and the main street that leads to the entrance of Dodger town in Vero Beach, FL was renamed Tommy Lasorda Lane on March 5, 1997.