Thomas “Tommy” Charles Lasorda, September 22, 1927 – January 7, 2021, spent 71 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers spanning from a player to two-time World Series winner to spending the last 14 years as a special advisor with the club.
Lasorda was one of the team’s last direct connections to its Brooklyn roots. He made his major league debut on August 5, 1954, for the Brooklyn Dodgers. That came after knocking around the minor leagues, and a two-year stint in the Army from 1945-47.
Prior to his death, Lasorda was the oldest living Hall-of-Famer, earning that distinction after the death of Red Schoendienst on June 6, 2018.
He managed the Dodgers to the title in 1981 and again in 1988.
Lasorda was profoundly influenced by Denver manager Ralph Houk, who became Lasorda’s role model for a major league manager. It was a role Lasorda flourished at achieving greatness seen by few in any field of work.
“Ralph taught me that if you treat players like human beings, they will play like Superman,” he told Bill Plaschke in the biography I Live for This: Baseball’s Last True Believer. “He taught me how a pat on a shoulder can be just as important as a kick in the butt.” (source-Wikipedia)
It was this influence Lasorda built his managerial style after. He cared deeply about his players. This influence was clear in the efforts players gave over the years under Lasorda.
Whether you were a Dodgers fan or not, you had to love Tommy for all that he was.
Lasorda is survived by his wife, Jo; daughter, Laura, and granddaughter, Emily. Lasorda’s son, Tom Jr., died in 1991.