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Remembering my father:

As we are in the holiday spirit I often think of my family, and especially my father.  He and my mother filled our house with so much love, which is the best gift of all.  My father worked 60 hours a week driving a truck in a stone quarry, which during the winter months was freezing.  But he never missed a day of work, and did all he could to give us a great life.

One day he was telling us about his home in Tollo, Italy.  He made his home sound like a castle, and I often wondered why he would leave if it was such a wonderful place. 

Many years later I went to Italy and visited Tollo.  While I was there I went to his old house, and it wasn’t that great.  But to him it was, because the most important part of his life was his family.  I wanted to walk the same streets he walked, go to the same church he went to, shopped in the same shops, and ate at the same restaurants where he ate just so I could feel closer to my father.

When we arrived in Tollo there was a banner strung across the main street, and in Italian it read:

Welcome, Tom Lasorda.  Son of Sabatino Lasorda

When I saw my father’s name on that banner I started to cry.  My love for my family is one of the most precious gifts I got from my father.  I have been blessed to have the love of my family, and the love of my Dodger family.

I hope each of you embraces your family and during this holiday season I hope each of you remembers what is really important in life.

Congratulations Ron Santo:

I have had the privilege and honor of knowing Ron Santo and being his friend for many years.  I am so happy that he has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today.

Ron was an outstanding player, as his numbers speak for themselves.  He was also an outstanding person.  Just ask anyone who knew him.

I only wish he could have been inducted sooner, but it is good to know that his legacy will be enshrined in the halls of Cooperstown.  This distinction has been a long time coming.  People all over the country have been waiting for this day.

Ron will make a great addition to the Hall of Fame, as his legacy has to the game of baseball.

Bobby Valentine, the Winter Meetings, Dallas and pizza:

Many years ago during the Winter Meetings in Dallas I went out with Bobby Valentine and a couple other friends to find something to eat.  It was late at night and most places were closed, so Bobby recommended a pizza place he knew since at the time he was Manager of the Texas Rangers.

We hopped in a car and arrived at the pizzeria, but the manager was putting the chairs on top of the tables and mopping the floor.  They were closed too.

Bobby told us not to worry about it.  He went over to the window and signaled to the guy to come over and open up so we could eat.

The guy looked at Bobby and waived his arms signaling no way.

“Let me handle this, Bobby,” I said.

I went over to the window to do the same thing.  This time the guy came over and was excited to open the door.

“Tommy Lasorda,” he exclaimed.  “Come on in!”

Needless to say we loved the pizza, and we all had some good laughs because even though Bobby was the manager of the Rangers it took some Lasorda magic to open up the pizzeria.

I guess the guy must have been a Dodger fan.

Thanks for the Southern hospitality Davidson College:


Monday and Cey horsing around:

Los Angeles Dodgers

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

We used to say that God made one mistake; He gave Penguin (Ron Cey) some horse’s teeth, and there’s some horse out there that running around a track with really small teeth.

Rick Monday, who was one of the best jokesters on the team, brought a bale of hay to the clubhouse and put it in Cey’s locker.

Let’s just say that Cey wasn’t very happy about that at all.

How do you say Dodger in Japanese or Korean?

Jon Soo Hoo

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

I had Hideo Nomo and Chan-Ho Park on the same team.  Nomo is Japanese and Chan-Ho is Korean.  I told them I would be their father away from home.  I took care of them on and off the field.

I would take them out to eat.  I would ask Nomo what he wanted, pasta or sushi.

He would say pasta.

Then I would ask Chan-Ho if he wanted pasta or sushi, and he would say both.

Both of them turned out to be outstanding pitchers.  Not only did they represent the Dodgers well, they represented their home countries to the highest degree of class, dignity and character.

The Wizzard, Ozzie Smith:

St. Louis Cardinals

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

When you manage the Dodgers for 20 years you see a lot of things that you can’t believe.  We are playing the Cardinals in the 1985 playoffs, and Ozzie Smith hits a home run to beat us.  Ozzie hadn’t hit a home run from the left side in something like 3000 at-bats.

All of a sudden, he hits a home run to beat us, and I still can’t believe it.  Every time I see Ozzie he likes to remind me of it.

But Ozzie is one of, if not the best shortstop, ever.  He is a true Hall of Famer and an outstanding guy.

 

Two more stories about Mike Scioscia:

Los Angeles Dodgers

Here are some Scioscia stories that aired recently on 790 KABC as part of the Lasorda at His Best series presented by Skechers:

One day the press came to me and said Yeager is a little upset with me.

“Why?” I wanted to know.

“Because you made Mike Scioscia the number one catcher because he’s Italian.”

“That is a lie,” I said.  “A big, fat lie.”

I did not make Scioscia the number one catcher because he’s Italian.  I made him the number one catcher because I’m Italian!

And speaking of Mike Scioscia, everybody talks about Gibson’s home run, of course, and people talk about Rick Monday’s home run in the 1981 playoffs that put the Dodgers in the World Series, but nobody talks about Scioscia’s home run in the 1988 playoffs in New York against the Mets.

Doc Gooden was the pitcher.  It was the top of the ninth inning.  There were two outs, and Scioscia had two strikes against him in the count.  And we were losing 4-2.

John Shelby hit before Scioscia.  You could not walk Shelby unless it was intentional.  He was a bible hitter – thou shalt not pass.  But Gooden threw Shelby four pitches that he couldn’t hit, so he walks.  It must have been an act of God.

So Scioscia comes up with two outs, Shelby on first, and believe it or not he hit a home run and tied the game 4-4.  If we lost that game we would be trailing the Mets 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, but Gibson hit a home run in the 12th and we won, which made the series 2-2.

 

 

The roots of Ryne Sandberg:

Baseball Hall of Fame

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

Ryne Sandberg was born in Spokane, Washington, and I used to manage there.  At Cooperstown we got to talking and he told me that as a little boy he used to be a big fan of the Spokane Indians and used to watch us play all the time.  He thought we had a really great team.

He was right.  Our 1970 Spokane team won the pennant by 26 games.  Baseball America voted that team as the best minor league team in the history of baseball.

Ryne went on to have an outstanding career for the Cubs.  He is enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and deservedly so as he is an outstanding representative of the game.

Never underestimate desire:

Preston Gomez

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

One year during spring training they formed a team with a bunch of players that didn’t really fit on any other of our minor league teams.  They had me manage this tam, and I got them fired up, and we started to beat the other teams we would play in camp.

Now we were going to play the triple-A team, Spokane, and Preston Gomez was their manager.  I got my players together and gave them a little talk.

“You guys have been outstanding!  We have won eight in a row!  Nobody can beat us!”

Gomez went around saying this game was a joke and that they are making a joke out of the Spokane team by having to play us.

I told my players that Gomez was saying these things about them like they’re a bunch of bums!

Gomez’s team was already on the field, and we all ran out together.  As my players past Gomez they were screaming at him and calling him names.

“What’s the matter?” asked Gomez.  “Your team is cussing me and screaming.”

“I don’t know,” I said.  “Maybe they don’t like you.”

You know something; we beat them.  We beat the triple-A team with a bunch of ragamuffins.  We walked off that field and my players were still screaming at Gomez.  I had them hating him so much they wanted to destroy him, and they did.

Just remember, it’s not always the strongest man who wins the fight, or the fastest man who wins the race.  It’s the one who want it badder than the other!

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