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Sports News:
Vignettes from life of Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Vignettes from the life and profession of Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda. He died Thursday at age 93.

MOUND VISITS

Pitcher Orel Hershiser, the 1988 World Series MVP and NL Cy Young Award winner, remembers the banter between him and Lasorda throughout mound visits. At instances, the fiery Lasorda would rip into Hershiser after which go away him within the recreation. Other instances, the manager didn’t must get robust.

“He actually motivated me by saying, ‘Bulldog, I need you to get these guys out in a hurry. I’m hungry and the postgame spread is cooling.’”

Hershiser recalled a mound go to Lasorda made to reliever Jesse Orosco.

“He was trying to figure out the camera angle so that he could swear on the mound and people couldn’t read his lips because Vin Scully notoriously could read lips as could other broadcasters.”

DINING WITH THE MANAGER

Utility participant Bobby Valentine first met Lasorda when he was scouted in 1968 after which performed for him in Ogden, Utah, of the Pioneer League. Lasorda picked him up from the airport after his flight from New York. He instructed Valentine that he had rather a lot of duty as the highest decide of the Dodgers.

“I said, ‘Well, you just tell me what the responsibilities are and I’m here to meet those responsibilities.’ And he said, ‘Well, the first thing you have to do is take the manager to dinner.’ And I took him to dinner on the way home from the airport. We bought a steak and I asked if the number two pick was going to take him out the next day. That turned out to be Billy Buckner, who refused to buy him dinner.”

PROLIFIC WRITER

Lasorda typically wrote postcards and letters to his gamers throughout and after their enjoying days. Some contained messages of motivation for the approaching season. Hershiser left the Dodgers as a free agent and signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1995.

Hershiser acquired a letter lamenting the space Lasorda felt of their father-son relationship and his want to rekindle it.

“He didn’t just write it in one line or one paragraph. It was like a two or three-page letter going through memories that we’d had and phone calls and talks that we’d had and places we had been and how he missed that. That helped motivate me and probably him a little bit, that we stayed in a lot closer contact. He really was telling me that just because you’re wearing another uniform, our relationship is not going to stop.”

AUTOGRAPH, PLEASE

Lasorda was common with autograph seekers all through his life. He thrived on the human contact, and he had a method with youngsters who sought him out. One of these was Corey Kasten, the 8-year-old son of Stan Kasten, who was then an govt with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. First, Lasorda had the youthful Kasten shake palms and say please. The elder Kasten remembers what occurred subsequent.

“He said, ‘Now I repeat after me, I love the Hawks.’ My son goes, ‘I love the Hawks.’ He said, ‘Now, repeat after me, I love the Dodgers.’ Well, this was a problem for my son. He couldn’t trip my son up on that, but I love the Braves. Tommy just roared with laughter and then he gave him his autograph. ‘Dear Corey, your friend Tommy Lasorda. You and the Dodgers are great.’ That was the ultimate compliment for Tommy Lasorda, comparing someone to the Dodgers. Fast forward 35 years, I’m now here running the Dodgers and I see him meet a young kid and go through the same exercise, the same rigmarole. That never changed. Today when I think about saying goodbye to Tommy, the only way I could think to say it is, Tommy, we will never forget you. You and the Dodgers are great.”

___

AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.

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