Lasorda, Tommy

Lasorda, Tommy, 1927-2021, American baseball pitcher and manager, b. Norristown, Pa., as Thomas Charles Lasorda. Lasorda first pitched for the farm team for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945, and then served two years in the Army. The Phillies traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948, and he played in their farm teams until 1954, pitching his only starting game in 1955; he was traded before the next season to the Kansas City Athletics and then to the New York Yankees, playing in its Denver triple-A team through 1957, when he was sold back to the Dodgers. He subsequently played for the Montreal Royals in 1958-60, during which time LaSorda pitched 107 winning games, the most wins for any Canadian team. LaSorda was hired as a scout for the Dodgers in 1960 and then coached in the minor leagues from 1966-73, when he graduated to be third base coast for the LA Dodgers. He became the team’s manager in 1976, remaining in that role for 20 years; during this time, the Dodgers won seven division league titles (1977, '78, '81, '83, '85, '88, '95), four pennants (1977, '78, '81, '88), and two world series (1981, '88). He retired as manager during the 1996 season with 1,599 regular-season wins in 21 years, and was named the team's Senior Vice President in 1996, serving briefly as its interim General Manager in 1998. He managed the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic baseball team in 2000 at Sydney. In 1982, his portrait was hung in the National Portrait Gallery. Lasorda is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame (elected 1997) and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (2006). Lasorda became a pop-culture icon through his appearances in films and on TV (usually portraying himself), and as a commercial spokesman.

See biographies by B. Plaschke (2009) and C. Gunderson (2015).

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