The Dodgers mourned the loss of a beloved family member Friday, with the news that Tommy Lasorda passed away on Thursday at the age of 93.
While his loss was felt throughout the game, it hit especially hard to those who he coached, managed or spent time with during his
The Dodgers mourned the loss of a beloved family member Friday, with the news that
While his loss was felt throughout the game, it hit especially hard to those who he coached, managed or spent time with during his 71 years in the Dodgers organization.
Current Astros manager Dusty Baker, who played for Lasorda from 1977-83, was in his wine cellar Friday morning when he received word that Lasorda had passed. He took a picture of a pair of Lasorda Family Wine bottles he had been given recently and told his wife that they were going to have Italian food for dinner in honor of Lasorda.
There was always food available in Lasorda’s office during his days as manager, and as a result Baker has made a habit of bringing food for his players over the years.
“He always made sure we had food, he knew everybody’s wife and he knew everybody’s child, which is the one thing I missed last year of not meeting the families,” said Baker, referring to last season’s COVID-19 restrictions. “Whether it’s the mother and family and brother and sister or wife and children. … I never felt so removed from a family atmosphere like I’ve always had since Tommy was there.”
That was just one of the many lessons that Baker took from his time with Lasorda.
“When I stick my neck out for a player I think can play, I learned that from Tommy,” he said. “When I bring in food for the players, I learned that from Tommy. That brought us all together. Tommy was ultimate positive thinker. I learned that from Tommy and my dad. He saved my career, actually, because that year  he stuck his neck out for me, I hit 30 home runs, we went to the playoffs, I was the [NLCS] MVP. I was the very first MVP of the playoffs. Then from there, I went ahead and made the All-Dodger team all because Tom Lasorda stuck his neck out for me.”
Another former Dodgers player under Lasorda turned MLB manager, Bobby Valentine, offered his remembrance on Twitter: “Words cannot express my feelings. A friend and mentor for 52 years is no longer with us. Tommy no one will ever fill the void you left. Thank you for everything.”
Words can not express my feelings. A friend and mentor for 52 years is no longer with us. Tommy no one will ever fill the void you left. Thank you for everything. R.I.P.
— Bobby Valentine (@BobbyValentine) January 8, 2021
Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, who was behind the mic for so many of Lasorda’s career highlights, mourned the loss of his friend:
“His heart was bigger than his talent and there were no foul lines for his enthusiasm.”
Tommy Hutton, who played for Lasorda while coming up through the Dodgers’ Minor League system, looked at him as a father.
“I have been blessed in this lifetime to have had two fathers,” Hutton said. “My biological Dad and my baseball Dad. He scouted me, signed me and taught me the way baseball should be played. RIP Tommy Lasorda and [prayers] to your wife Jo and family.”
I have been blessed in this lifetime to have had two fathers. My biological Dad and my baseball Dad. He scouted me, signed me and taught me the way baseball should be played. RIP Tommy Lasorda and 🙏🙏to your wife Jo and family
— Tommy Hutton (@THUT14) January 8, 2021
Current Dodgers star pitcher Walker Buehler remembered Lasorda as “one of the most passionate and entertaining people I’ve been around in my life.”
Rest In Peace Tommy. One of the most passionate and entertaining people I’ve been around in my life. Tough, tough day.
— Walker Buehler (@buehlersdayoff) January 8, 2021
D-backs CEO and team president Derrick Hall, who started his front office career in the Dodgers’ organization, rising to vice president of public relations, treasured the time he got to spend with Lasorda.
“I am so sad with the passing of Tommy Lasorda, who was such an important part of my life and career,” Hall said. “I will cherish the meals, stories, laughs and travels forever. One of a kind legend.”