Tommy Lazorda was born on the first day of fall, which is very important in the game of baseball. Many years later he would make a lasting autumn mark, but on that day, in 1927, the Brooklyn Dodgers lost the double title. Lazorda, who hails from Norstown, Pa., Will grow up to be a left-handed pitcher for the team, but he will never win for them.
Like his predecessor Walter Allston as Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Lazorda only appeared briefly as a major league player. Allston did not win a battle; Lazorda did not succeed in a few starts. Nevertheless, they managed the team in an uninterrupted order from 1954 to 1996, merging all six of the owners ’championships before 2020.
“Their strength was the strength of the Dodgers: they knew the mini-league system, they knew how the players should be the main leagues, they understood the importance of the development of the scouts and the players – they knew it from the ground up,” Fred Clary, former Dodgers general manager, said Friday. “Their personalities were different, but their foundations were almost identical.”
Up to Lazorda Death at home on Thursday, 93, was a senior member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. As he always said, if there really is a Dodger blue paradise, he can look at the world and see his old team on top of it. When the Dodgers won the World Series last October, he was watching from a ballpark set in Arlington, Texas.
“I think he should be there, you know?” Bobby Valentine said Friday. “It’s like he has to come home from the hospital to be with his wife, so she can say it’s okay.”
Valentine, a longtime key league manager, was with Lazorta at Globe Life Field; A mutual friend, Warren Liechtenstein, arranged to take a private plane to Lasorda, Texas, and was by his side with a doctor at all times.
“He didn’t stop – we wheeled him, he sat the whole time – but with an out or two in the last inning, he stood up and watched him play, and when they won he threw both hands over his head and said: ‘Yes!’ Valentine said. “It ‘said,’ To anyone around him, when he came out of the trench after they had won, he said: ‘Oh, we did it!'”
Lazorda’s teams have won 1,630 games in major leagues, including the latter season. He led the Dodgers to seven division titles, four World Series and two championships in 1981 and 1988. When he retired, he managed the American baseball team – mostly minor leagues – to win gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
With Lazorda, games are only one part of the story. He was a true celebrity, friend of Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles Where to find a camera. He can share wisdom as a brilliant magician on a children’s TV show (“Baseball Bunch”) Or slanderous pleasure a The reporter who dared to ask For his opinion The performance of a competitor. John Lovitz “Saturday Night Live” starred him.
Lazorda had one thing about icons. In 1989, He ordered the referees to kick Yup! – A jolly orange bubble in a Montreal Expos jersey – to run loudly over the Dodgers duckout. A year ago, he Billy Fanatic wrestled to the ground He was hit by a Dodgers dummy that stuffed him at Veterans Stadium.
Lazorda and Fanatic created a kind of action during a major league baseball goodwill trip to Japan in 1979. The logo would make fun of the manager, and its outrage received a laugh from fans. But Lazorda flew to Philadelphia that day and was born the highlight of all time.
“Every other time I talked to him, he was doing it with his tongue on my cheek, but I knew he was crazy because he used my name, and he put together a few exam analysts,” Raymond said Friday. “I was kind of confused – ‘I think he’s really angry!’ – When my head almost came out, I Was really angry. So for the next few innings, I had a dummy at Billies Duckout, and I fed it to the pizza. At that point, I said, ‘Well, you started it.’
Years later, when Lazorta saw a naked Raymond in a hotel lobby at a baseball winter meeting, he beat up friends again with their quarrel. Was part of the show with Lazorda, who would always ask Raymond about his father Dubby, a longtime football coach at the University of Delaware.
“The biggest tragedy beyond his family and his close friends and the Dodger family was baseball because Tommy was a great ambassador,” Raymond said. “We don’t have people like Tommy Lazorda or Earl Weaver Doug McGrath Or Jay Johnstone anymore. Those kinds of people are weeded out. With the emphasis on travel games and performance and analysis and everything, we miss some of the best parts of baseball and some of the things we grasp as kids. This amazing window frame gave personalities like Tommy to the game. ”
Valentine – a colorful character – agreed with the idea, but emphasized Lazzardo’s role as a visionary looking beyond the mountains overlooking the Dodger Stadium. He ran clinics around the world, learned the Spanish language, and learned players like Fernando Valenzuela, one of the first stars of baseball from Mexico, and the first MLP all-star Hido Nomo from Japan.
For Valentine, the Lasorda branch followed Ricky’s lineage, bringing Jackie Robinson, Hall of Fame manager for the Dodgers and other teams, to the majors and creating a map for the modern farm system.
“Tommy was carrying a stick to do things differently,” Valentine said. “He was an old Italian who had old Italian ways, but somehow, with a high school education, he knew the world was changing and with that came the need to change baseball.”
Lazorda’s deepest legacy may have changed the role of manager. Although Allston could have been distant and quiet, Lazorda was a brave enthusiast for his players, creating an environment where young players could thrive and motivate players as much as possible.
The 1988 World Series, against the imposing Oakland Athletics, was Lazorda’s masterpiece. Dodgers stole Game 1 in Kirk Gibson’s spell Homer, and pitcher O’Reilly dominated Herscheis A twice. But their other win, in Game 4, was all Lazarda, with Oakland’s Jose Kanzeko having fewer homers than himself in its patch lineup.
At the NBC Precam show, Bob Costas praised the Dodgers’ pitch, but called their lineup “He was one of the weakest players on the field for the World Series.Lazorda, who was looking at the clubhouse, slammed the walls with grievances.
“Do you hear what Costas said? He said you are the worst attacking team ever!Super-sub batting third Mickey Hatcher recently recalled Lazorda’s theft. “Oh, man, he was stirring it. Of course when we were out in the garden, the soldiers were screaming, not knowing what was happening to Costas. But Tommy kept feeding everyone. ”
Costas finished the precam show from his spot on the first foot of the grass, dug into the audience. He stayed on the field for the national anthem, not knowing that Lazorda had seen his analysis, and used it to mobilize the Dodgers.
“I stand next to Hershey, who is at the end of the line with his hat over his heart during the anthem,” Costas said recently. “He looks over his shoulder and out of the corner of his mouth, ‘Boy, Tommy really goes beyond what you said.’ ‘What is he talking about?’
“Then they won. Lazorda says a great thing with Marv Albert on TV about it. He’s been watching me the whole time!”
The Dodgers dropped that night and scribbled runs on the passing ball, one error and two ground outs. They won a game later, and when they finally recovered it, for a long time, was their biggest fan.
“What’s about Tommy is, above all, his passion and love for the game,” Clary said. “It motivated him, it helped him play professional baseball, which he had as a teenager and he never lost it.”