LA Dodgers Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda to Receive “Great Ones” Award from Jim Murray Memorial Foundation
Award will be presented at Santa Anita Park on October 24th during the JMMFʼs “Day at the Races/Monte Carlo Night” event
August 21, 2015 (Pasadena, Calif.) On October 24th, Tommy Lasorda, baseball executive and ambassador best known for his two decades as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will officially have his name affixed to one of his idols when his name is inscribed upon the Jim Murray Memorial Foundationʼs “Great Ones” trophy, a bronze bust of Pulitzer Prize winner, Jim Murray.
Lasorda, who managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976-1996, will be presented the Award for his meritorious career of more than sixty years in the Dodgersʼ organization. Previous winners include “Great Ones” Arnold Palmer, Joe Namath, Luc Robitaille, Bobby Rahal, Chris McCarron, Duke Snider, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Hall of Fame sports journalist Rick Reilly.
“The Great Ones Award is our Stanley Cup. Each year we add a new name to it for that individualʼs contribution to his sport,” said Bill McCoy, president of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation (JMMF). “Tommy Lasorda and Jim Murray were friends for many years. It seems fitting we honored both their legacies with this award.”
Born Sept. 22, 1927 in Norristown, Pa., Lasorda got his start in pro-baseball at the age of 18 as a southpaw pitcher when he signed with the Phillies in 1945, then served two years in the military. Joining the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1949, Lasorda labored in the minors for years before making his big league debut in 1954. He spent parts of two seasons with the Dodgers, and a stint with the Kansas City Athletics in 1956.
In 1960 Lasorda became a scout for the Dodgers, who by then had moved to Los Angeles. Beginning in 1966, he became a manager in their farm system. Returning to the Dodgers in 1973 as a third-base coach for manager Walter Alston, Lasorda was named Alston's successor in 1976.
On July 12, 1988, Jim Murray wrote, “If you had a license from God to construct yourself a baseball manager, you would probably begin with one with a big belly and short legs that were slightly bowed or pebbled with lumps so that they looked like sacks of walnuts. You would want one who had his own syntax, a voice that sounded like an oncoming train in a tunnel. Itʼd have to be a nice part for Vincent Gardenia.”
“Tommy Lasorda is as perfect for the Dodgers as peanut butter for white bread. Or Laurel for Hardy. A lot of people were surprised when the Dodgers broke precedent and signed him to an early extension on his contract. Why? Peter OʼMalley is Walterʼs son, isnʼt he? The only way Tommy Lasorda could be let go is if Casey Stengel suddenly became available. God is not going to let that happen.”
Former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig named Lasorda the official ambassador of the World Baseball Classic, an international tournament, in 2006 and 2009. A baseball icon, Lasordaʼs portrait was placed in the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery in 2009. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, he remains with the Dodgers as a special adviser.