Little League® International remembers the life and legacy of Tommy Lasorda, the incomparable former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was 93.
Mr. Lasorda spent 67 years in the Dodgers organization as a player, coach, and manager. He was a tireless and charismatic ambassador for the sport of baseball, and on different occasions participated in Little League events.
“Major League Baseball (MLB) has lost an icon, and Little League has lost a true friend,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “Largely through the relationship that Little League had with Peter O’ Malley, former owner of the Dodgers and President of the Little League Foundation, Tommy lent his legendary passion for the game for the betterment of the Little League program, and we will forever be grateful.”
Among his appearances in support of Little League, Mr. Lasorda was a guest speaker at the retirement fete in Williamsport, Pennsylvania for then-Little League President and CEO Dr. Creighton J. Hale; and spoke at both the 1987 and the 2001 Little League International Congress events. He also served as an honorary coach during a Tee Ball on the South Lawn game at the White House in Washington, D.C.; and attended the dedication of Little League Urban Initiative fields in Los Angeles.
“Through his decades in the dugout, Tommy impacted generations of players by emphasizing the role that baseball can play in teaching character, sportsmanship, and personal pride,” Mr. Keener said. “He always had a story to tell and truly loved the game. I will never forget my experiences with him because he was purely unique.”
As Dodgers manager from 1976 to 1996, Mr. Lasorda won two World Series titles, four National League pennants and eight division crowns. He was named the National League’s Manager of the Year on two occasions and won 1,599 career games. In his final months, he witnessed the Dodgers win their first World Championship in 32 years, as Los Angles captured the 2020 MLB title by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in six games.
Mr. Lasorda’s No. 2 was retired by the Dodgers in 1997, and the main street that leads to the entrance of Dodgertown, the Dodgers’ spring training complex in Vero Beach, Florida, was renamed Tommy Lasorda Lane that same year.
in 1988, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Veterans Committee selected Mr. Lasorda for enshrinement. For several years after being immortalized in Cooperstown, N.Y., he served in various capacities with the Dodgers; and he was manager of the U.S. team that won the gold medal in baseball at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Mr. Lasorda later served as the official ambassador of the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009.