July 2011

I love the United States of America:

Here is my story that aired last night on 790 KABC as part of the Lasorda at His Best series presented by Skechers:

One of the greatest awards that bestowed upon me was when I received the Ellis Island Heritage Award from the Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation.  I received the award because of my parents, as my father emigrated to the U.S. in 1920 from Italy.

When he came through Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty was there to greet him.

Lee Iacocca was to present the award to me.  My four brothers had come to New York from Norristown.

During my acceptance speech, I said that I thank God every night that my father did not miss that boat.

But had he missed the boat, I would be addressing you all today as Pope Thomas XXVI.

My wife said more like Lucky Luciano II….

I wish I had a picture that goes with this story:

Here is my story that aired last night on 790 KABC as part of the Lasorda at His Best series presented by Skechers:

A lot of people don’t know that I was a basketball referee in the Eastern Pro League before moving to California as a scout for the Dodgers. During one game I called a couple fouls against the big center who was making a lot of money. I kept calling fouls on him as he was pushing guys around in the key.

Each time I ran down court there was one guy sitting close to the bench hollering at me, and putting his hands around his neck and calling me a bum. Finally I blew the whistle for what seemed like a minute.

“One more word out of you and you’re gone,” I said to the heckler.

“Yeah,” he said. “Go ahead and throw me out!”

So I threw him out.

After the game was over I was coming out of the dressing room and some lady confronted me. She told me she was the guy’s wife and that I never should have thrown him out because he owned that team.

“What’s that got to do with it?” I asked.

She turned around and kicked me right in the shin. I’ve never hit a woman, nor will I ever, but at that moment I wish her husband were there too….

For most people there is little choice between boxing or baseball:

Here is a story that aired recently on 790 KABC as part of the Lasorda at His Best series presented by Skechers:

When I was a young player in the Dodger organization and we all reported to Vero Beach, FL for spring training, we must have had well over 700 players.  The end of the line for breakfast in the mornings was blocks away. 

One thing I remember well is we had a free agent show up for camp, and he was a catcher.  He looked pretty good behind the plate, but he didn’t make the club.  I took a long look at this guy and I always remembered him. 

The player was Rocky Marciano, one of the greatest fighters to ever walk into the ring.

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