Longtime Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda returns as the keynote speaker for the 25th Annual Bobby Dolan Baseball Dinner on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino. Lasorda was inaugural speaker when the dinner began in 1985 and returned again in 1986. The 2009 dinner will mark the third time for him as the dinner’s featured speaker.
Tickets are $160 per person with tables of 10 for $1350. Youth 12 and under are $75. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the National Anthem being sung at 6:30 pm. to kick off the event. The dinner will resemble a game day ballpark atmosphere with the Wolf Pack players in uniform. The evening includes a sit down dinner prepared by the Silver Legacy, a baseball memorabilia auction and a message from the keynote speaker. All proceed will benefit Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Nevada. The Bobby Dolan Baseball Dinner is presented by Morrey Distributing. For event details and tickets, call Heather Pennington at 682-6965.
Regarded by many as baseball’s most popular ambassador, Tommy Lasorda begins his 58th season in the Dodger organization and third as Special Advisor to the Chairman. He was named Vice President in 1996 after retiring as manager, a position he held for the previous 20 seasons. Lasorda assumed all player personnel responsibilities when he was named the Dodgers’ interim General Manager on June 22, 1998. He relinquished his General Manager duties when he was promoted to Senior Vice President on Sept. 11, 1998.
Lasorda’s role in the globalization of the game of baseball is now more evident than ever before, as Commissioner Selig appointed him as the Official Ambassador of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Lasorda managed an underdog United States Olympic Baseball Team to the Gold Medal at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, just five days after celebrating his 73rd birthday. On Nov. 6, 2000, the Tom Lasorda Heart Institute officially opened at Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, Calif.
In 1997, Lasorda was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in his first year of eligibility. He was the 14th manager and 52nd Dodger inducted into the Hall of Fame. Lasorda’s uniform number (2) was retired by the Dodgers on Aug. 15, 1997 and the main street that leads to the entrance of Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL was renamed Tommy Lasorda Lane on March 5, 1997. Lasorda also threw out the first pitch in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
Lasorda compiled a 1,599-1,439 record and won two World Championships, four National League pennants and eight division titles in an extraordinary 20-year career as the Dodgers’ manager. He ranks 13th with 1,599 wins and 12th with 3,038 games managed in Major League history. His 16 wins in 30 NL Championship Series games managed were the most of any manager at the time of his retirement in 1996. His 61 postseason games managed rank third all-time behind Bobby Cox and Casey Stengel.
Lasorda posted a 3-1 record as the NL manager in four All-Star Games. He joined St. Louis’ Gabby Street (1930-31) as the only managers in NL history to win league titles in his first two seasons when he led the Dodgers to titles in 1977-78. Lasorda also managed nine of the Dodgers’ 16 Rookies of the Year, more than any other big league skipper in history.
Prior to replacing Hall of Famer Walter Alston as manager on Sept. 29, 1976, Lasorda spent four seasons in Los Angeles on Alston’s coaching staff from 1973-76. He spent eight seasons as a manager in the Dodgers’ minor league system at Pocatello (1965), Ogden (1966-68), Spokane (1969-71) and Albuquerque (1972). Lasorda also spent four years as a Dodger scout after retiring as a player following the 1960 season. An astounding 75 players Lasorda managed in the minor leagues went on to play in the Majors.
Lasorda compiled an 0-4 record and 6.52 ERA as a left-handed pitcher in parts of three Major League seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1954-55) and Kansas City Athletics (1956). In all, he spent 14 seasons in the minor leagues from 1945-60 and he served two years in the military from 1946-47.
He has won numerous awards throughout his career, including being named Minor League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News in 1970, Manager of the Year by UPI and AP in 1977, Manager of the Year by AP in 1981 and N.L. Manager of the Year by Baseball America and Co-Manager of the Year by The Sporting News in 1988. He was the recipient of the Association of Professional Baseball Players of America’s inaugural Milton Richman Memorial Award with Sparky Anderson in 1987, the BBWAA Philadelphia Chapter’s Humanitarian Award in 1993, Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce’s Award of Merit in 1997, Touchdown Club of Columbus’ Baseball Ambassador of the Year in 1997, Arete’s Courage in Sports Award in 1997 and was honored by the President of the Dominican Republic in 1997 for his dedication to the game of baseball throughout his career.
Lasorda has been a spokesperson for the American Heart Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation. The PBSF now gives an annual award in his name for the most outstanding manager of the year and in 2006, the first year of its existence; Lasorda received the award as the Manager of the Century. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from Pepperdine, St. Thomas, CS Long Beach, University of Phoenix, Concordia and Hawai`i.
In February 2003, he was honored by Cal Tech when he became only the second person to ever have an asteroid named after them. His asteroid is #6128, otherwise known as Asteroid Lasorda. Lasorda and his wife, Jo, have been married for 56 years. The couple renamed a gymnasium and youth center in memory of their son, Tom Jr., in Yorba Linda, CA on Sept. 7, 1997. They are also the proud grandparents of Emily Tess (11), the child of their daughter, Laura and son-in-law, Bill Goldberg.