Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Tommy Lasorda

Tommy Lasorda turned 84 today and was rewarded with getting to be an honorary bench coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The longtime Dodgers manager won 1599 games in his 20+ seasons, captured 8 NL West Division titles, and won the World Series twice - in both 1981 and 1988. He retired in 1996 due to issues with his health, but returned to the bench to manage the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, a squad that featured Ben Sheets, Roy Oswalt, Doug Mientkiewicz and Brad Wilkerson, and led them to a gold medal over heavily favored Cuba.

But the legendary figure who made the call to pinch hit Kirk Gibson against Dennis Eckersly in the 1988 World Series may be best known for his advertising:

Or perhaps his epic wipeout while coaching third base at the 2001 All-Star Game:
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One thing's for sure, we won't be remembering him for his contributions on the mound, at least not at the Major League Level. While he enjoyed tremendous success in the minors, including a 15 inning - 25 strikeout performance where he drove in the winning run with a single in 1948 - he compiled a 6.48 ERA in 26 career major league games over three seasons with a record of 0-4.
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At the end of the day though, all kidding aside, Tommy Lasorda was truly one of the game's greatest managers. Love him or hate him, you can't deny his contributions to the game over the years. So Happy Birthday, Tommy. Still lookin' good in that Dodger Blue.

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