With the unfortunate news of the passing of Dodger Legend Tommy Lasorda, one would think the city of Los Angeles would be in mourning. While that is the case the atmosphere isn’t filled with complete sadness. Instead, people have come together to remember and celebrate the life of Mr. Lasorda
People from all backgrounds have shared their favorite stories or memories they had with Tommy during his life. In fact, on a recent episode of the Big Swing Podcast, former Dodger pitcher Ross Stripling shared the moment he first met Tommy Lasorda. After being drafted by the Dodgers in 2012, Stripling was sent to start his professional career with the Ogden Raptors. During one particular start with the team, Lasorda happened to be in town to watch the team. As for the rest of the story, well I’ll let Strip handle that.
“‘I’m pitching that night and I go out and I do well. I come back in and Tommy’s sitting at my locker. It’s still the middle of the game and Tommy’s at my locker, (he) got up from the stands to walk into the locker room to tell me, ‘Hey kid, you’re gonna be a big-leaguer one day.’”
Ross, who had received a college degree, never fully intended to carve out a career as a professional baseball player. However, Lasorda’s keen eye for talent was all it took to convince him to chase after a chance that many can only dream of having.
Lasorda was known to want the best version of everyone he met. He was also known for his ability to command a room with the amount of energy he gave off to those who surrounded him. No matter where he went, everyone knew who Tommy was. In fact, while joining Ross Stripling and Cooper Surles on the podcast, Orel Hershiser described Tommy as having a brand “bigger than baseball.”
“He’s a Michael Jordan kind of person, he’s a Magic Johnson type of person. He could go around the world and be recognized, make phone calls to the Pope, make phone calls to active presidents and they would answer him and talk to him. He had phone calls for me where we called President Reagan after my twentieth win. We’re on the phone with President Reagan in his office, it’s just amazing who he could reach.”
No matter who you talk to about Tommy, they’ll have a memorable interaction with him. He was so full of life that you couldn’t help but want to meet him. His memory will live on forever through the stories he left behind.
Listen in on the full podcast here.