Tommy Lasorda Biography: Baseball Man To The Core

Former Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda played only one season of major league ball, but his life in baseball has continued into the new century.

It would seem appropriate that Tommy Lasorda manage the United States Olympic baseball team at the 2000 Sydney games. Lasorda has spent much of his life as a baseball ambassador so why not have him spread the gospel on an international stage?

Lasorda's baseball life began in the middle of World War II. As a 16 year old in 1943, Lasorda was signed as a pitcher by the Philadelphia Phillies. His salary was $100 per month. Not blessed with tremendous talent, Lasorda nevertheless worked his way through the minor leagues, highlighted by a 15 inning performance for Schenectady in 1948 that saw him strike out 25. Lasorda wound up with the Brooklyn Dodgers, where he climbed the ladder and spent portions of three seasons in the major leagues, never winning a game.

Lasorda's passion for the game led to a stint as a scout after his playing days. He parlayed that into managerial positions throughout the late 1960s and early 70s. In '73, he joined the Dodgers, now in LA, as a coach for manager Walter Alston. At the end of the '76 season, Lasorda was named manager.

From 1977 through the early 90s, Lasorda's teams enjoyed great success, including four National League pennants and two World Series titles. Many of his players such as Ron Cey, Dave Lopes, Bill Russell and Steve Garvey came up through the organization with Lasorda. His college-like enthusiasm and bond with the organization were legendary.

In LA, he became a celebrity who counted the likes of Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles as close friends. It was common for some of Hollywood's brightest stars to take seats behind the Dodger dogout.

Lasorda claims to "bleed Dodger blue" but bleeds "red, white and blue" as the manager of the 2000 Olympic team. At age 73, Lasorda continues to share his knowledge and passion for baseball.

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