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Tommy Lasorda has spent 68 years of his life representing the Dodgers.
It’s only fitting, then, that after celebrating his 90th birthday on Sept. 22, the Los Angeles City Council decided to honor Lasorda’s contributions in a special ceremony on Friday. And it’s not surprising that while being honored, Lasorda’s passion for the Dodgers shone through again in the form of a plea for the franchise’s 29-year championship drought to end.
“Thank you for the honor,” Lasorda said to the gathering of mostly Dodgers fans. He then added, courtesy of ABC 7 in Los Angeles, “May God bless each and every one of you — and if the Dodgers don’t win this time, I think I’m gonna kill myself.”
We’re sure Tommy means no harm despite his strong choice of words. He’s just wearing his Dodgers emotions on his sleeve, which is something he’s done since being drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers from the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1948 minor league draft.
He started as a pitcher in Brooklyn, before becoming a scout and later a coach. His most famous role was as Dodgers manager, where he led the team to World Series championships in 1981 and 1988. The latter is still the team’s most recent title.
Lasorda was named the Dodgers manager on Sept. 29, 1976, just one week after his 49th birthday. He replaced the seemingly irreplaceable Walter Alston, embarking on a run that would last 22 years and result in 1,599 career wins. Only 19 managers have won more games than Lasorda. Along with his championships, that win total is a big reason he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
The Pennsylvania native has has been hospitalized multiple times in the past year. Most recently, he underwent surgery to replace his pacemaker in May. Yet he still remains firmly attached to the Dodgers organization. he’s currently in his 11th season as a special adviser to the club’s chairman. He’s also served as an ambassador for baseball in the United States and abroad.
“We are delighted to recognize Tommy Lasorda for his significant contributions and wish him the happiest of birthdays,” Councilman Paul Koretz told the crowd. “Tommy Lasorda has been a champion with the Dodgers and for the city of Los Angeles.”
Truer words were never spoken. Lasorda’s passion for the city of Los Angeles, for the game of baseball and especially for the Dodgers has not waned or wavered. He still regularly attends game, and like Dodgers fans he’s anxious to see another championship celebrated at Dodger Stadium.
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