‘Remembering Tommy LaSorda’
In the midst of getting swept by the lowly Pirates this week in front of Dodgers fans, my mind drifted to legendary Tommy LaSorda, who passed away just a year ago.
Wonder how LaSorda would react to losing 3-straight to a Pirates roster full of players from the Dollar Value Store.
Can you imagine his angst? His Dodgers, with a 290M payroll, trailing at the start of each of the 3-games, by a Pittsburgh team with a 55M payroll.
And then a piece of trivia came into my Email box about LaSorda’s pitching career, which was nothing in the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers and then Kansas City A’s.
LaSorda was (0-4) with a 6.48-ERA in the majors spread out over 3-short end of season callups.
But he was dazzling in the minor leagues, including 9-seasons with the Dodgers top farmclub, the Montreal Royals, where Jackie Robinson broke in. His career minor league record was (136-104). In today’s terminology, he would be classified a ‘4A’ player.
He became a brilliant major league manager, moving up the Dodgers farm chain then getting to Dodgers Stadium.
A footnote to his career, something you will never see again. After going (4-12) in the low minors as an 18-year old pitcher in 1945, LaSorda came back in 1948, after two years in the service, and was a workhorse for the Schenectady Blue Jays. He went (9-12)..threw 192-innings, had 190-strikeouts, but gave up 180-hits and walked 153 baserunners. He had 333-baserunners that season, working out of the stretch.
Here’s the footnote piece of trivia you will never see again anywhere:.
Remembering Tommy LaSorda:
Yesterday’s Q: Tommy Lasorda struck out 25 batters in 15 innings pitching for the Phillies’ Class C affiliate in Schenectady, N.Y., against which team on May 31, 1948?
Answer: the Amsterdam Rugmakers. It was Lasorda’s second professional season, having signed with the Phillies as a 17-year-old in 1945. He played one year in the Class D North Carolina State League before spending two years in the military. After being discharged, he joined the Schenectady Blue Jays of the Class C Canadian-American League.
In the second game of a doubleheader, Lasorda set a league record with his 25 K’s while allowing five runs. He also came through at the plate, hitting a walk-off single in the 15th.
Lasorda was taken by the Dodgers in the minor league draft after the season and sent to Class A Greenville. He pitched well there, and in five seasons with Triple A Montreal, but didn’t make his MLB debut until August 1954. Lasorda’s big league career didn’t amount to much, though. He ran up a 6.48 ERA in 58⅓ innings with the Dodgers and A’s.
After washing out as a player, the Dodgers brought Lasorda on as a scout and later third base coach before serving as manager for 20 years.