Our training staff today is the best in baseball. They give tirelessly of themselves to make sure the players are healthy and well taken care of. I thank them for their service and commitment.
When I played we had one trainer who carried a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and by the seventh inning he drank half of it!
March 3 is special to me. On this day in 1997 I was having breakfast at Dodgertown inVero Beach. I had just retired from managing the year before and was getting used to life outside of the dugout.
As I was going about the normal spring training day, talking to players, signing autographs for fans and looking forward to Opening Day, the PR director, Derrick Hall, told me that I have an important phone call.
He took me to the press box at Hollman Stadium and gave me the phone. It was Ted Williams.
“Tommy,” he said in his blustery voice. “I thought I was the only guy inCooperstownwho loved you, but it turns out that everybody loves you.”
“Congratulations, Tommy. You are being inducted into the Hall of Fame.”
When he said that to me I started to cry. I never thought I would be in the Hall of Fame, even though I gave everything I had to the Dodgers and baseball. And to get the call from Ted, a man who I idolized and respected so much, made it one of the most important and memorable days in my life.
Thank you Ted for making that call to me.
What a true joy it was this morning when I pulled into Camelback Ranch and was greeted by the great Joe Amalfitano. Joe was my third base coach from 1983 until I retired from managing in 1996. However, he was, and still is, one of my best friend and closest confidants.
Joe embodies the Dodger way. He is class on and off the field. He loves the game of baseball, and has been involved in all aspects of the game. He was a player for the New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs. He was Leo Durocher’s bench coach, also coaching for the Padres and Cubs. He became Manager of the Cubs for a few years before joining my staff on the Dodgers.
If you are ever inSan Pedro,Californiayou better not say anything bad about Joe. He is the pride of San Pedro and has never forgotten his roots. Every time we get together we laugh about old times, and all the great stories that came out of the 1988 championship season, of which he played a crucial role.
I love Joe and wish he and his family nothing but the best. He can go around this country and stand on any street corner with his head held high and yell at the top of his lungs that Tommy Lasorda loves him, and he would be telling the truth.