My 80th Birthday

Today I am fortunate enough to celebrate my 80th birthday.  My actual birthday is September 22, 1927, but since the Dodgers are on the road that day we are celebrating today.  I am looking forward to the festivities, as the Dodgers are giving away a special bobblehead doll of me.  I think it looks great.  I have never seen one like it.  I am holding my Hall of Fame plaque.  I really hope the fans like it too.  Just yesterday I signed 80 of them that will be randomly given away at the turnstiles.  I hope one of you readers is one of the lucky 80 to get a signed doll.

I have been getting a lot of attention in the media lately about my birthday.  The other day I saw a great commercial on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket promoting my birthday and bobblehead.  I’d like to thank FSN Prime for that, and I hope the fans like the commercial as much as my family and I did.

Tl45 I’d like to thank the Dodgers for honoring me today.  I’d like to thank Frank and Jamie McCourt for their love and support.  I’d like to thank my family and friends whom I love dearly.  And I’d like to thank the Dodger fans.  You are, without a doubt, the greatest fans in all of baseball.

You know, when I was a kid we didn’t have fancy birthday parties with lots of presents.  Every Christmas my four brothers and I would get the same thing every year; a scarf and gloves.  As I look back on my life I am still in awe.  I still can’t believe how it turned out.  Who ever could have dreamed that the son of an Italian immigrant from Norristown, Pennsylvania, who was the third-string pitcher on the high school baseball team, would end up managing the Dodgers for 20 years?

Who ever could have dreamed that a guy like me who has never stepped foot in college would give six commencement addresses and have six honorary doctorate degrees?

Who ever could have dreamed that I would shake hands with Presidents Nixon and Ford?  Hug President Carter?  Befriend Presidents Reagan and Bush?  Meet President Clinton and George W. Bush?

Who ever could have dreamed I would hang out with the great Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles and travel the world with them?

Who ever could have dreamed that I would join a fraternity of only 15 managers to make it to the Hall of Fame?  As I stood at the podium in Cooperstown making my induction speech I told the story of when I was 14 years old.  I would actually dream that I was playing for the Yankees and pitching at Yankee Stadium.  I would look around the diamond and see Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.  Than I would feel my mother shaking me, saying, "Wake up Tommy.  It’s time to go to school."

Why didn’t she leave me alone?  Why couldn’t I stay in the dream?  It was so real!

Standing on that stage in Cooperstown with all the greatest baseball players in the world behind me, I said, "I thank God for all of this, and it won’t be too long before I feel my mother shaking me, telling me to wake up because it’s time to go to school."

I have lived a dream.  Thank you.

33 Comments

I hope that cake tasted as good as it looks! I loved the commercials as well! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and I can’t to see you cheering with the fans in October!

Dear Mr. Lasorda, congratulations on your arrival at the 80 year mark, may you have decades of Dodgers fun left in your ongoing “dream” of a life. Tommy I want to thank you also for all the great Dodgers memories you’ve been a part of. I’ve bled dodger blue for over 40 years now and I remember when our third base coach was miked for the game, who knew I’d be seeing you for the next 30 plus years. thanks for all the memories, you’re still my all-time favorite manager.

Happy Birthday from your friends here at MLBlogs.com. Thanks for being the trailblazer.

Mark/MLB.com

http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

Happy birthday Tommy!

May you live to see many many more opening days.

Happy birthday tommy.

Sorry I can’t be there tonight to celebrate with you. Thanks for all the excitement and enthusiasm you have shown and still show towards the Dodgers, the fans, and baseball. You are truly a treasure. I have had the pleasure of meeting you a few times and will never forget the hours of story telling at Dodger fantasy camp some years ago. It was a moment I will never forget.

Happy Birthday Tommy, From Brooklyn N.Y, where you once pitch for the Dodgers, I’m just a few blocks from Bamonte’s Restaurant where you ate many times and where I got your autograph. Thanks to you, we had a great team in your tener as manager in LA. Happy Bithday and many, many more.

Tommy thanks for all the great memories from my childhood. As Vinny says you are a bridge to my past and as a child i had many great memories of cheering for the blue. I now have 2 kids and we had the pleasure of meeting you last year in the Dodger Stadium elevator. You were kind and accomodating in our request for a picture. You picked up my baby girl and gave her a kiss, patted my son on the head and once again made me smile as you have been for 20 years of my life. Happy birthday, we love you and the Dodgers.

Happy Birthday Tommy! From the crazy female Dodger fan that you were talking to in SF 9/8/07 Saturday morning while you were waiting for you car. Dodgers won that day! Made the trip to SF worth it! My biggest thrill after the win was talking to you. Thank Tommy for the chat.

As I told you I have season tickets at Dodger Stadium and saw all the festivities for your birthday. It was great!

A big thanks to all that put the festivities for your bithday celebration together. They did an outstanding job!

We love you Tommy! May God keep you with us healthy for many many more years.

Emma (crzblue)

Tommy,
Happy Birthday wishes from the great state of Texas. Of course, living out here I don’t get to see much of the team on local television. But my grandmother tells me all about it everytime I call her.

I don’t know if you really read this but I’d like to notify you of the passing of a huge Dodger Fan. Mary Yates lost her long and courageous battle with cancer on September 11, 2007. You may remember her. She and my grandmother came to a dinner you hosted for a few Dodger Fans. She was sitting on your right hand side that night. A wonderful woman who, like you, had Dodger Blue running through her veins. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, she followed her Dodgers through good times and bad. I know she’s up there right now rooting the Dodgers to victory.

Happy birthday Tommy from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on Canada’s east coast. Thank you for the many wonderful memories and for your continued enthusiasm for the Dodgers, especially in the tougher times. Thank you for always respecting and interacting with the fans.

In 1985 I phoned you at Vero Beach during spring training. You not only took the phone call you engaged me in a conversation. Later that week my family came to Dodgertown. You were standing on the playing field when we arrived. I got close enough to remind you of the phone call. You jumped over the fence, climbed the stairs and shook my hand as if I was you long lost brother. You presented me with a baseball, in fact sent Steve Sax to get one, and signed it, “To Harold. You and the Dodgers are both great. Tommy Lasorda.” Our eight year old son took my picture with you. That was certainly a historic moment for me in my 56 years as a Dodger fan. Thanks for that and for being the Dodgers number 1 cheeleader.

Hi Tommy
We want to wish you the happiest of birthdays. Always loved seeing you at Mike Shannon’s in St. Louis in the “good old days” when you and the Dodgers would come to town. Thank you for always being so sweet to my mother – who is now 85 years old.

Much love

Janet(& Mom Lorraine)Hartzel

Edwardsville IL

Fans

Ciao Tom Lasorda,
I’m proud about you.Happy Birthday.

From Italy, your parents village: Tollo

Giuseppe D’Alicandro

Dear Tommy,

As a lifelong Dodgers fan who “bleeds blue,” I wish you a most happy 80th. birthday today. My brothers and mother are also Dodger fans and some of us were privileged to meet you at Marchwood Tavern a number of years ago. You were gracious enough to interrupt your leaving and pose for a picture with my nephew and us behind the restaurant.

Also, my mother (RITAAREADER@aol.com) was born on 9/25/27, making her 3 days younger than you. She still watches the Dodgers on her dish and we always mention your birthday around the time of her’s.

As we are now in “wait ’til next year” mode, we hope you have many more happy birthdays, see the team duplicate 1988 next season and continue to be the “face” of the Dodgers for years to come.

Regards,

Bruce A.

Dear Tommy,

Happy 80th birthday! Cast your mind back to the evening of October 15, 1988. My 6-year-old son thought I had lost my mind as I jumped up and down screaming in front of the television after Kirk Gibson’s homer. That was a great move to save him for the 9th inning.

Many happy returns,

Brian

Walnut Creek, CA

Dear Mr. Lasorda

I am 20 years of age and no one has ever explained to me the legacy of Tommy Lasorda. I decided to read about you and watch films of the legendary games that you were apart of. You inspired me to become confident, respectful and a winner. Even though I have vivid memories of you as a manager of the Dodgers, I still have the privelage to say that I was alive during those special years. I love you and I respect you.

Wish you another 80.

Fred B.

Paramount, Ca

Happy birthday, Mr. Lasorda! You, Vince Scully and my dad (he will be 90 years young in April!) are the three reasons I love baseball so much. Thank you so very much!

Dawn

Yucca Valley, CA

Happy Birthday Tommy! I still remember waiting for the elevator at Shea Stadium before Game 5 of the 2000 World Series (Subway Series). I was very shocked, as well as the reporters I think,to see you right in front of the elevator door when it opened. It was also a pleasure to be able to shake your hand before you left. I will always remember that night, not because of the Yankees winning, but because that night I met my first and still only Baseball Hall of Famer. Happy Birthday again!

Frank

Wantagh, NY

Dear Tommy,

Happy Birthday! I grew up following your career as you managed the Dodgers, and over the years you signed both a copy of your autbiography and a baseball for me, which I still have, cherish, ansd will someday pass down to my daughter with pride.

Your enthusiasm for, and opinions of what is both good and bad about the game of baseball largely mirror my own, and I have the upmost respect for you. You made me a bigger fan, and I thank you very much for that.

Lastly, I loved the story you told in your HOF acceptance speech about you and John Macnamara going to the same Mass. What a riot!

Congratulations and God bless,

ark McCordsville, IN

As a Dodger Fan living in Brooklyn, sometimes it’s tough at and around Shea Stadium in Queens. New York’s a tough town. I remember a bunch of Met’s fans harrasing us Dodger Fans. In the ninth inning, two out, a man on, the Mets were up by 1, Garvey up. 2 strikes, sorry I forgot the pitcher name, the crowd was yelling for a strikeout, louder & louder. The noise was like it was electrified, especially on the pitch. Garvey swung. Mazzelli in center field racing back to the wall, It’s over his head. The noise stops quickly like pulling out a plug from a socket. The runs scored, I embrace a perfect stranger, who happened to be a Dodger fan. The Dodgers won in extra innings. Thank you Tommy, Happy 80th Birthday.

Happy Birthday Tommy!
I hope you enjoyed my rendition of Happy Birthday on the elevator last week! Take care and God Bless You!

Eva

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lasorda!

I’m not absolutely certain of this, but I believe my Dad, Gregg Scott, Sr. played against you back in the late 1940′s. He was on the Amsterdam NY team which I believe was a farm team for the Yankees. My Dad also played on the Navy team down in Pensacola, FL. My Dad passed away a couple of years ago, but he loved the game all the way to the end. God bless you and your family.

Gregg Scott, Jr.

Happy Birthday, Tommy. Hope the next year will be a great one for you.

Be well.

Eddie S.

Azusa, CA

Tommy, Happy 80th Birthday to you!!
You have been over the years like a member of the family. You always speak from the heart with conviction and inspiration no matter what the subject. You have been a great example of what heart, determination and belief can do for a person.

I’ve bled Dodger Blue for so long that I’ve been given the honorable nickname of ‘Lasorda’ by more than a few people over the years.

I’ve got one of the earlier Tommy bobbleheads on my fridge which I like to bob the head for luck & inspiration

I’ve lived in L.A. & O.C. all of my life, but relocated to Virginia last year. When I tell people out here in the South that I’m a Dodgers fan (which I always bring up) the one thing always say is “Yeah, Tommy Lasorda, he’s great!”.

Thanks for everything,

I’m still bleeding blue!!!

Arthur David Yuriar,

Franklin, Virginia

Tommy,

I have been a fan since I was born in 1966 which is the year I was born. I used to go to games and see you coach on the third base line all the time. Congrats on making it to 80 years and I hope you have many more.

Phil Michaelson

Happy Birthday Skip,
You and your beautiful granddaughter remind me of our days together in Ogden in 1966. It is easy to see she is Laura’s daughter. We are expecting our 2nd granddaughter any day now. Best wishes to you, Jo and family for many more years promoting Dodger Blue.

Tommy,
When I was a six-years-old in 1955 in CT, my father bet me $5 that the Yankees would beat the Dodger again in the World Series. Well, that year began a 52 year love affair with the blue. My dream was to see a game in Dodger Stadium and it came true in 2006 when we saw my present home team, the Atlanta Braves, open the season at the most beautiful stadium in the world. I followed your career throughout the 80′s and was so proud at the two World Series’s wins. As far as I’m concerned, you are and always will be the Los Angeles Dodgers. Happy Birthday, and I wish you many many more.

J. Curtiss, Atlanta GA

Tommy … was watching my good friend’s son, Brian Anderson, do FOX t.v. play by play for the Brewers last night. They got to talking about longest dingers in Milwaukee (Miller Park). I had flashback to late ’50′s (I was about 11) when I was lying in bed in naval housing in Long Beach listening to Dodgers game on the radio. My recollection is that Frank Howard hit one out of Milwaukee County Stadium that was one of those 500+ tape measure jobs. I can’t find any history of it. I know that he was not up in the bigs fulltime until 1960. Am I having a senior moment? Who can I contact who might have the answer? John Johnson, Arlington, Texas http://www.johnsonjt3@aol.com

Tommy, the best of wishes on your birthday. I had the priviledge of knowing you and your family during the time I managed a hotel/restaurant on Rodeo Dr. in the 90′s and having you as my guest for luncheons and dinners was a always a pleasure. One time when you ordered your usual plate of pasta, you sat there perplexed looking at your dish 3/4 empty and I asked you if you were full? You looked at me and said, “No its just my arms are tired” Greatest line ever. Best to you and Jo, Regards, Tommy B

Happy 80th Mr. LaSorda. We all love you.

Happy Birthday,Tommy! Congratulations on your 80th Birthday!!! You have been such a positive inspiration, to not only me, but to all my kids, who knew you, as the guy I learned to admire for your outstanding baseball intelligence and philosophy…and apply it to my own Little League coaching style for over 20 years now! I had the honor of meeting you, and introducing you to my kids,after a game, during the year of “The Dream Team of 1988″…and you made such a real and genuine impression to them all, by stopping to talk to us all, and signing every one of their baseballs, caps, and gloves!!! Take Care,Tommy…and Best Wishes to you and Jo too!!!

Tommy,
Best wishes for your 80th birthday. Although I don’t live in Southern California anymore, I watched you at the helm of the Dodgers for 25 years. Thanks for a lot of great memories. I’ll always be a Dodgers fan.

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
http://www.nicetick.com
- Air Jordan

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