Monday, July 21, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #189 - Tom Lasorda

  • Tom Lasorda started his long baseball career as a left-handed pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization in 1945. For some reason he didn't pitch in 1946 or 1947. Lasorda moved to the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1949 and pitched in the minors for several seasons.
  • Tom had two cups of coffee with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 and in 1955. He didn't exactly set the world on fire during those two stints and Lasorda was sold to the Kansas City Athletics in March 1956.
  • Lasorda was with the A's for the beginning of the 1956 season but after going 0-4 with a 6.15 ERA in 18 games (5 starts) he went back to the minors. 
  • Tom was sent back to the Dodgers in 1957 and he continued to pitch for AAA Montreal through the 1960 season. 
  • From 1960-1965 Lasorda was a scout for the Dodgers.
  • In 1966 Tom started his managerial career. From 1966 to early 1969 Lasorda managed at the Rookie League level. In 1969 Lasorda became the manager of the Dodgers' AAA team in Spokane. Tom managed AAA Spokane and Albuquerque from 1969-1972. Tom was the Sporting News Minor League Manager of The Year in 1970.
  • Lasorda became a coach (and manager Walter Alston's heir apparent) with the Dodgers in 1973. Tom became the manager of the Dodgers during the last week of the 1976 season after Alston's retirement.
  • The Dodgers won NL pennants in the next two seasons (1977 and 1978) but they lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series both times. Lasorda was named NL Manager of The Year in 1977.
  • After a rough 1979 season, the Dodgers returned to contention in 1980. They finished 1 game behind the Houston Astros in the NL West in 1980.
  • In 1981 the Dodgers won the World Championship and in 1982 they finished second in the NL West behind the Atlanta Braves.
  • The Dodgers won NL West titles in 1983 and in 1985 and then pulled off an upset in 1988 when they beat the heavily favored Oakland A's 4 games to 1 in the World Series.
  • Lasorda won NL Manager of The Year awards in 1983 and in 1988. The Dodgers won another divsion title in 1995, giving Tom a total of seven as a manager.
  • Tom stepped down as the manager of the Dodgers in 1996 after he had a heart attack. He retired with a lifetime record of 1599-1439 in 21 years.
  • Lasorda was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
  • Tom managed the U.S. Baseball Team to the Gold Medal in the 2000 Olympics. 
  • Lasorda was named a vice president of the Dodgers in 1998. He continues to serve as a special adviser for the club.
  • Here is a long and interesting piece about Tommy Lasorda Jr., who passed away from AIDS-related pneumonia in 1992.