Tommy Lasorda - Olympic Gold
In May, 2000, four years into his new job as a vice president for the Dodgers, Lasorda was called on to manage the U.S. Olympic baseball team at the Olympic games in Sydney, Australia. "Being selected to manage the U. S. Olympic team is a great privilege and honor; it's bigger than the World Series," he told USA Today's Mike Dodd on the occasion. "It's bigger than the Dodgers, bigger than Major League Baseball, because it's the United States of America. It's your country."
Chosen from among minor league players from around the United States, the members of the U. S. Olympic team would not even be brought together as a team until just a month before they played. "Wish it was like it used to be," Lasorda told Dodd, "here you went around the country playing some games. I want to show the country, let them see these guys. I want to show my team off."
Instead, Lasorda told Dodd, "September the first, I will meet with the players and that'll be the first time I've seen these guys in person. September the second, we board a plane for Brisbane.… I'm only going to have eight or nine (exhibition) games to know what they can do. It's not going to be easy."
Nevertheless, the American baseball team took home the gold in 2000 in a stunning 4-0 defeat of the favored Cuban team. Lasorda described his reaction to the victory to Bill Conlin in the Sunday Mail: " bawled like a baby. I was just so thrilled for these young men and what they accomplished. I told my wife before I left home, 'Fifty years from now, I'm gonna be a trivia question. The question will be: Name the only man in history to manage both a World Series team and an Olympic gold medal winner. I'm gonna be the answer to that question.'"
It was a fitting finish to a long and illustrious managing career for Lasorda. As for what the future might bring for him, he gave this hint to Woodburn: "I'll do everything I can to make baseball better. I love to go around this great country of ours, and around the world, and spread the word of baseball." Lasorda spoke with pride of his 46-year association with the Dodgers organization, and of his 45-year marriage to wife, Jo.