Tommy Lasorda is not only the face of the Dodgers franchise, but easily recognized by baseball fans and players.
Born Thomas Charles Lasorda on Sept. 22, 1927, in Norristown, Penn., he was a pitcher and former Dodgers manager. After his career on the field with the team, he became the Vice President of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He remains in the Dodgers front office as Special Advisor to the Chairman.
Lasorda started his professional baseball career in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system for the Concord Weavers in 1945.
He missed the 1946 and 1947 baseball seasons serving in the Army during World War II. When he returned to baseball in 1948, he played for the Schenectady Blue Jays. The Dodgers then drafted Lasorda from the Phillies organization and placed him on the Greenville Spinners in 1949.
Lasorda made his major league debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers on Aug. 5, 1954. Lasorda won a World Series with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955 although he didn’t play in the series. After two more seasons with the Dodgers he was sent to the Kansas City Athletics. After one season with the A’s, Lasorda played in the minor leagues with the New York Yankees in 1956 and then back with the Dodgers in 1957.
He played three seasons in the major leagues and appeared in 27 games for the Dodgers and A’s.
After Lasorda’s last season as a player in 1960, he became a minor league manager of the Ogden Dodgers successfully winning three championships from 1966-68. He later became the Dodgers AAA Spokane Indians manager from 1969-71. The team was later changed to the Albuquerque Dukes where he remained the manager in 1972. Lasorda’s Dukes won the 1972 Pacific Coast League championship.
In 1973 Lasorda was promoted to the Los Angeles Dodgers as their third-base coach turning down multiple manager jobs to remain in the Dodgers organization.
On Sept. 26, 1976, Lasorda was hired as the Los Angeles Dodgers manager. Lasorda recorded a 1,599-1,439 record, won two World Series in 1981 and 1988, four National League pennants and eight National League West Division titles in an amazing 21-year career.
Lasorda managed nine National League Rookies of the Year and two Cy Young Award winners before his retirement in 1996. He was the National League Manager of the Year in 1983 and 1988 and the Associated Press Manager of the Year in 1981. His 1,599 wins as manager ranks 16th in Dodgers franchise history.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.