FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2018
Happy 91st birthday, Tommy Lasorda!
Historic Dodgertown celebrates today, September 22nd, as the birthday of Tommy Lasorda, the Hall of Fame Dodger manager who managed the team from 1977 to 1996 with two World Championships.
It has been 30 years ago since he did his finest managing job leading the Dodgers to the World Series and then defeating the Oakland A’s in five games. For his efforts, he was named Major League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News. The tagline on the Dodgers’ 1988 highlight film was “A Season of Thrills, A Lifetime of Memories,” and we remember what others said of Tommy in that unforgettable 1988 season.
“Tommy Lasorda is as perfect for the Dodgers as peanut butter for white bread. Or Laurel for Hardy.” (Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times, July 12, 1988).
“You gotta believe!!!!!”......He (Lasorda) said it before the (1988) season even started, telling fans,“Get your tickets now because we’ll be dancing in the streets of Los Angeles in October! (Colin Gunderson, “Tommy Lasorda”, (2015).
(Tommy Lasorda) “The man who has managed the Dodgers since 1977, and signed to continue that role through the 1990 season, is jolly, intense, fun-loving, humorous, effervescent, inspirational, compassionate.” (Los Angeles Times, October 4, 1988).
“Because Tommy is such a motivating manager, you seldom hear how strategic he is. He’s uncanny. You’ve got to put him in the class of the best managers of baseball.” (Bill Russell, Los Angeles Times, October 4, 1988).
“Back in April (1988), Newsday (a New York daily newspaper) polled a number of players on who they considered the best manager in baseball. Said Don Sutton, “Tom Lasorda. He goes for the jugular. Each game is a season in itself. Valenzuela will pinch-hit. Orel Hershiser will relieve. The game is right now, at the moment, to win or lose.” (Morning Briefing, Los Angeles Times, October 11, 1988).
Of his 1988 club, Tom Lasorda said, “I really think this is a team destined to win.” (Sam McManis, Los Angeles Times, October 11, 1988).
Orel Hershiser responding to an inquiry by Los Angeles Times columnist Mike Downey to describe his manager, Tommy Lasorda in one word. Hershiser said, “Offhand, I can think of three words. The first word is motivator. Tommy’s definitely that. The second word is intensity. Tommy definitely has that. And the third word that comes to mind is this: Will to win. That’s what I think of when I think of Tommy.” (Mike Downey, Los Angeles Times, October 13, 1988.
“I’m putting the pot of gold on the Bulldog (Orel Hershiser).” (What Lasorda told pitching coach Ron Perranoski to bring in starting pitcher Orel Hershiser to save Game 4 of the 1988 National League Championship Series. (Josh Suchon, “Miracle Men,” 2013).
Kirk Gibson said, “I told Mitch (Poole, clubhouse man) to go down and get Tommy (Lasorda)……Tommy came running up there (the clubhouse). I said, ‘Hit (Mike) Davis eighth, and I’ll hit for the pitcher if you want me to. Lasorda said, “Hell yeah, I want you to. He told me to stay up there. He didn’t want me to be on the bench because he didn’t want Oakland to look over and see me.” (Mel Antonen and Ted Keith, “That Was A Cool Feeling,” Sports Illustrated, October 13, 2013.
“Well, you can believe that if you want to…….You wanted to say “OK, nice touch, to the manager, Tommy Lasorda.” (Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times, in his column October 16, 1988 after Kirk Gibson defeated the Oakland A’s in Game 1 with a ninth-inning home run.
“You’ve heard Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda referred to time and again as a great motivator. (Before Game 4) Tommy’s master stroke of motivation came in tuning the clubhouse TV to the right channel.” (Scott Ostler, Los Angeles Times, October 20, 1988).
“(Tom) Lasorda kept telling his players about David and Goliath—“The first time the underdog won……He’s full of prosciutto, but Lasorda did a superb job of both micro-and macromanaging.” (Steve Wulf, “Destiny’s Boys” Sports Illsutrated, October 31, 1988).
“He (Lasorda) certainly did the finest job of managing I’ve seen,” said Dodger third base coach Joe Amalfitano. “You know, when you guys do those player-by-player matchups, you don’t really think about the impact the managers have on a team. That was a big difference in this Series.” (Steve Wulf, “Destiny’s Boys” Sports Illustrated, October 31, 1988).
“Fact and fantasy had mingled for weeks, like a Hollywood creation slowly unfolding. But now they have somehow intertwined, and the Dodgers’ improbable dream of winning the World Series is a reality.” (Sam McManis, Los Angeles Times, October 21, 1988).
“But over and over after they won the World Series tonight, Tommy Lasorda called them “my team of destiny” and urged the downtrodden of the world to look to them for inspiration.” (Joseph Durso, New York Times, October 21, 1988).
Mickey Hatcher, “I’m sure it was a flip of the coin a lot of times he (Lasorda) had to make the lineup card out. But we got through it. Any other team in baseball that won it, can’t look back and say how special it was (the way it was special) with us. They can never say that.” (“K.P. Wee, “The 1988 Dodgers.)
“Nobody thought we could win the division! Nobody thought we could beat the mighty Mets! Nobody thought we could beat the team who won 104 games! But WE believed it!” (Tommy Lasorda, October 20, 1988 in his speech to the players in the Dodger clubhouse in Oakland after they won the 1988 World Series).
About Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida
“A Florida Heritage Landmark”
World-famous Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida is a multi-sport, 80-acre complex on Florida’s Treasure Coast managed by former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley in a partnership since 2012. O’Malley, whose family developed and expanded the site formerly known as “Dodgertown” for nearly 50 years, partnered with his sister Terry O’Malley Seidler and former Dodger star pitchers Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo.
On November 10, 2014, Historic Dodgertown was named a Florida Heritage Landmark for its unique historic significance extending beyond baseball, as the first completely integrated Spring Training site in the South. The “Baseball and Dodgertown” historical marker is located at the entrance to the conference center.
The home of Dodger Spring Trainings from 1948-2008, it was the starting place for six World Championships and 14 N.L. Pennant-winning teams. Numerous Baseball Hall of Fame players trained on these hallowed grounds, as well as 20 visits from professional teams in Asia.
The all-inclusive facility, owned by Indian River County, gives teams of all ages the unique opportunity to train, play, dine and stay together in on-site villas. Participants utilize one of 10 ½ playing fields (seven are Musco-lighted for night games), including a new cloverleaf of youth baseball/softball fields with concessions area and new multi-purpose field (110 by 130 yards) for football, soccer and lacrosse.
Other amenities include clubhouses, two full-sized weight rooms, dining room, Stadium Club lounge and a competition-size swimming pool. The home of 6,500-seat Holman Stadium, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida provides an all-encompassing experience for guests and is the ideal setting to build a championship team. It’s the perfect location for tournaments, camps, schools, business conferences and seminars.
Continuing its tradition since 1983, the Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp returned to Historic Dodgertown in November, 2014. Visit historicdodgertown.com for more information.
Ruth Ruiz, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida, (772) 257-8532