Tommy Lasorda - An Outstanding Manager
An Outstanding Manager
In 1965, Lasorda became a manager in the minor leagues, winning five pennants. In 1977, Lasorda became manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a post he would hold for about the next 20 years, until his retirement in 1996. In Lasorda's very first season, 1977, he took the Dodgers to the World Series, a feat he repeated the following season. Unfortunately the Dodgers lost each time to the Yankees. The Dodgers came back, though, in 1981, beating the Yankees at the World Series.
In June, 1996, Lasorda, then 68 years old, suffered a mild heart attack that required him to step away from his managerial duties. Less than two months later, his doctors cleared him to return to work, but the time away had forced him to examine the high-stress lifestyle that had brought on the attack. With great reluctance, he decided to step down as manager of the Dodgers.
Lasorda officially retired as Dodgers manager in July, 1996. The Dodgers organization had left open the option for him to return, but, as he said in a press conference quoted by the St. Petersburg Times, "even though the doctors gave me a clean bill of health, for me to put on a uniform again, as excitable as I am, I could not go down there and not be the way I've always been." Lasorda said he felt his resignation was "best" for himself and for the Dodgers organization. Struggling to compose himself, Lasorda spoke through tears of his enthusiasm for managing, but noted the importance of his family and his desire to spend time with them.
Lasorda did remain with the Dodgers, however, as a vice president. As he explained his appointment to the new job to the Daily News's Bill Madden, "[Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley] supplied the answer [Jo and I] needed to hear after I made my decision to give up managing. He said: 'You did the right thing and now you'll be vice president helping us in many different directions. We need you.'"
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