Regarded by many as baseball's most popular ambassador, TOMMY LASORDA is in his 53rd season in the Dodger organization. He was named Vice President on July 29, 1996 after retiring as manager, a position he held for the previous 20 seasons. Lasorda assumed all player personnel responsibilities when he was named the Dodgers' interim General Manager in June 22, 1998. He relinquished his General Manager duties when he was promoted to Senior Vice President on September 11, 1998.
In his current front-office capacity, Lasorda spends much time scouting, evaluating and teaching minor league players as well as spreading baseball goodwill to thousands as he makes more than 100 speeches and appearances to various charities, private groups and military personnel each year.
The 2000 season proved to be memorable for Lasorda. On May 5, he was named to manage the Olympic Baseball Team for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. His team, considered underdogs by many, won the Gold Medal on September 27, just five days after his 73rd birthday. On November 6, the Tom Lasorda Heart Institute at Centinela Medical Center in Inglewood, CA officially opened.
In 1997, Lasorda was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in his first year of eligibility. Lasorda's uniform number (2) was retired by the Dodgers on August 15, 1997 and the main street that leads to the entrance to Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida was renamed Tommy Lasorda Lane on March 5, 1997. Lasorda also threw out the first pitch in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
Lasorda compiled a 1,599-1,439 record and won two World Championships, four N.L. pennants and eight division titles in an extraordinary 20-year career as the Dodgers' manager. He ranks 13th with 1,599 wins and 12th with 3,038 games managed in major league history. Lasorda's 16 wins in 30 N.L. Championship Series games managed were the most of any manager at the time of his retirement in 1996. His 61 postseason games managed ranks him third all-time behind Bobby Cox and Casey Stengel. Lasorda posted a 3-1 record as the N.L. manager in four All-Star Games. He joined St. Louis' Gabby Street (1930-31) as the only managers in N.L. history to win league titles in his first two seasons when he led the Dodgers to titles in 1977-78. Lasorda also managed nine of the Dodgers' 16 Rookies of the Year, more than any other big league skipper in history. He also managed five current major league managers during their playing days: Anaheim's Mike Scioscia, San Francisco's Dusty Baker, Detroit's Phil Garner, Milwaukee's Davey Lopes and New York Mets' Bobby Valentine.
Prior to replacing Hall of Famer Walter Alston as manager on September 29, 1976, Lasorda spent four seasons in Los Angeles on Alston's coaching staff from 1973-76. He spent eight seasons as a manager in the Dodgers' minor league system at Pocatello (1965), Ogden (1966-71) and Albuquerque (1972). Lasorda also spent four years as Dodgers scout after retiring as a player following the 1960 season. An outstanding 75 players Lasorda managed in the minor leagues went on to play in the majors.
Lasorda compiled a 0-4 record and a 6.52 ERA as a left-handed pitcher in parts of three seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1954-55) and the Kansas City Athletics (1956). In all, he spent 14 seasons in the minor leagues from 1945-60 and he served two years in the military from 1946-47.
Lasorda has won numerous awards throughout his career, including being named Major League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News in 1970, Manager of the Year by UPI and AP 1977, Manager of the Year by AP in 1981, and N.L. Manager of the Year by Baseball America and Co-Manager of the Year by The Sporting News in 1988.