True legend Tommy Lasorda has passed away. He had a long history of heart problems. He had been taken to the hospital in November and in the ICU a couple weeks. He ultimately got to go home again earlier this week after seven weeks in the hospital. Unfortunately there was another heart attack yesterday. He was 93.
He managed the Dodgers from 1976-1996. He led them to two WS titles, four NL pennants, 8 division titles, and 1599 wins overall. After his retirement he remained a fixture around the the Dodgers for the remainder of his life.
It’s not hyperbole to call him the true face of their franchise, and he became beloved by baseball fans everywhere regardless of team allegiance. Caps off to one of the great ones.
4 thoughts on “Baseball in Mourning Again”
Good, quick read from an article in 2017.
If Vin Scully was the voice of the Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda was the face.
He lived a good, full life steeped in the sport he loved. Can’t ask for much more that that.
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As a recovering Dodgers fan, I’m somewhat familiar with Lasorda. From the favor-to-a-friend draft of Mike Piazza in the 62nd round to the immortalized “What do I think of Kingman’s performance?…” to his rant about Kurt Bevacqua, an absolutely awe-inspiring stream of epithets.
What I remember is his use of Orel Hershiser in 1988. Hershiser pitched a record scoreless streak that year. As the season was ending, Hershiser was shutting everybody out, and could not be stopped. It was Lasorda’s opinion that to set the consecutive scoreless inning record, Hershiser could not be pulled, so Orel had no relievers from August 30 on. A decade away from becoming an Angels fan, I thought Lasorda was nuts and was overusing Orel. Tommy added a save to Orel’s record during that month. In the postseason, Hershiser started three games and saved another to take the NLCS MVP. The Dodgers beat Oakland in the World Series (You remember it for Gibson’s gimpy, arm-pumping homer), and Orel pitched a complete Game 5 (his second WS start) to take the title and was named the MVP.
I believe Hershiser was poorly used, or perhaps just used. It was a different era, and pitchers were not wrapped in felt and kept in refrigerators between starts. I recognize that. Lasorda was a great motivator, and he truly believed players could achieve things far beyond their individual talent if enthusiastically motivated. I grant him that. But a man who had seen – for decades – players fall apart for unclear reasons should have seen that adrenaline could only push performance so far. Such a motivator should have seen that always asking for 110% would sooner or later result in a 90% peak.
Hershiser is probably being quoted as an admirer of Lasorda today. I’m sure his feelings are valid for himself, but for me, Lasorda is forever a user, a man glorifying himself on the talents of others who were tossed aside. I think of Tommy as a consumer, not a contributor,
Oh, also in 1988: Lasorda was named Manager of the Year for riding Hershiser’s back.
Just in case you wanted to hear what Orel has to say today: