The passing of Tommy Lasorda has brought reaction from around the baseball world, which was to be expected for someone so involved in the sport for over seven decades.
MLB Network ran a seven-minute tribute video to Lasorda that’s worth your time.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on MLB Network recalled a story of when he was a player with the Dodgers (2002-04), during batting practice at spring training in Vero Beach. Lasorda was between 75-77 years old at the time.
“After we’ve done about 45 minutes, an hour of extra work on the field, here comes Tommy in his cart. He gets out, gets his jacket off and wants to throw BP,” Roberts said. “He ended up telling me I needed to hit curveballs, so this guy threw another 45 minutes of BP, and I was exhausted. I couldn’t snap anything.”
"He was there [at the World Series] in Texas... That's one of my proudest moments, that we got to fulfill one of his dreams."@Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts reflects on his friendship with Tommy Lasorda. pic.twitter.com/RWk3WWUOSz— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 8, 2021
Lasorda was a special adviser to Dodgers owner Mark Walter over the last 14 years, and while he wasn’t involved in the day-to-day operations of the team any longer, he was still a constant presence around the team, at spring training, at Dodger Stadium, and even on the road.
Several current and former Dodgers players shared their memories of Lasorda.
Tommy Lasorda, this wonderful man, Hall of Famer in baseball and in life, this is him, so much joy. So much love he had for baseball, for the @Dodgers . To win, to love this game, to live and play with joy was his message to us. Rest in peace in Blue Heaven, sir and thank you. pic.twitter.com/45iXnAurYU— Kenley Jansen (@kenleyjansen74) January 8, 2021
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
RIP Tommy!! Will never forget all the great conversations, the memories, the stories! Last couple of years, I’d look forward to 6pm before every home game. Getting to talk to you for 5-10 minutes, always made my day! We will all miss you Tommy! pic.twitter.com/j3VuhyNoFZ— Enrique Hernández (@kikehndez) January 8, 2021
Prayers up for the Lasorda family. It was my honor to know Tommy during my time in LA. No one I’ve ever met has matched Tommy’s love for baseball and I don’t think they ever will. I’m so grateful to have gotten to know him and to have spent the time with him that I did.— Alex Wood (@Awood45) January 8, 2021
Tommy watched me pitch in 2012 rookie ball, Ogden, UT. Afterwards he told me I was going to be a big leaguer. Instantly called my Dad to tell him about it. Going to miss telling Tommy how much that meant to me. RIP to a baseball legend— Ross Stripling (@RossStripling) January 8, 2021
Fortunate to have spent some quality time with Tommy over the past 7 yrs. His passion for the Dodgers was incredible and it will live on. I’ll miss him giving me before a start, and chirping me during an outing on the back fields in spring training! RIP to a Dodger legend https://t.co/xF8NOtF0B2— Brock Stewart (@Brock_A_Stewart) January 8, 2021
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
I had the honor of meeting Tommy Lasorda the day I signed with the Dodgers on June 20, 2008 and his words of wisdom have stuck with me throughout my baseball career... Baseball has lost a legend! pic.twitter.com/9CXNj1l9ym— Matt Magill (@magillmlb) January 8, 2021
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
Tommy, you will forever be loved and remembered. I will forever miss your stories and jokes and speeches. Never did I leave a conversation with you not feeling better about myself or with a huge smile on my face. #RIPTommy #GOAT pic.twitter.com/BXQhyK0nny— Adrián González (@Adrian_ElTitan) January 8, 2021
Matt Kemp on his Instagram story said of Lasorda, “Too many memories with this guy. We love you and will miss you.”
Josh Rawitch, now a senior vice president in the Diamondbacks communications department, worked with the Dodgers for years.
I grew up loving this man from a distance & had the great fortune to spend many years together as friends. He may be the best storyteller I’ve ever met & always made us laugh. What an incredible life. May he rest in peace with the “Big Dodger in the Sky” he so often spoke about. pic.twitter.com/55Q04JYNdd— Josh Rawitch (@joshrawitch) January 8, 2021
It’s been a rough week for Vin Scully, who also lost his wife Sandi.
I want to express my gratitude for all your kind messages about my beloved Sandi. And with the loss of my dear friend Tommy, it's been quite a lot to bear.— Vin Scully (@TheVinScully) January 8, 2021
Hall of Fame announcer Jaime Jarrín, who has called Dodgers games for 62 years, offered his thoughts on Lasorda to Bill Plunkett.
Jaime recalled many nights after a tough loss on the road, Tommy would knock on his door at 1 or 2 am and ask him to go for a walk. It was Tommy's way of turning the page on a tough loss -- and it would occasionally take him and Jaime into some rough neighborhoods.— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) January 8, 2021
To date, I’ve had 62 seasons of great moments and memories, but the memories that I have where Tommy was present, are amongst my most treasured. I will miss my dear friend. pic.twitter.com/9bWVHiIUaT— Jaime Jarrín (@JaimeJarrin) January 8, 2021
A number of reporters shared their Lasorda stories as well.
Many of these are tweet threads, so click through to get the full story. Joel Sherman’s thread starts here, but this tweet had the line that made me laugh the hardest.
3/he was doing for the team and America. I said, it is like Bela Karolyi doesn't get a medal when one of his gymnasts wins a medal. Tommy roars, "Joel, I don't give a (bleep) about Bela Lugosi." Like an idiot, I correct Tommy, Karolyi not Lugosi. At that point, Tommy starts— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 8, 2021
RIP Tom Lasorda. A larger than life character, even when his diet was working. Everything said about him, good and otherwise, was true. Warts and all, he had a knack for making people happy and bringing out their best. 1/5— Kevin Modesti (@KevinModesti) January 8, 2021
One other Tommy Lasorda personal experience: Rangers in LA same day my Brooklyn-born dad had been returned to his home from hospital after 2nd heart surgery (1/— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) January 8, 2021
Never got old hearing Tommy Lasorda tell the Buster Maynard story. Lasorda was snubbed by Maynard, a major leaguer, while trying to get an autograph as a kid. In 1949, Lasorda faced Maynard in a minor league game. Hit him with a pitch. He was so proud to tell that story.— Doug Padilla (@DougPadilla) January 8, 2021
Spring training 1978. My father had me interview Lasorda for WNBC-TV. Tommy did it--and of course he was great--but he insisted I take off my Arkansas Razorbacks football shirt and wear this instead. Everyone has a Tommy story. pic.twitter.com/hJLi24myvn— Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap) January 8, 2021
In the winter of '94-'95, I had lunch with Tommy Lasorda at his brother's restaurant in Exton. He was appalled by my spaghetti twirling technique, reached across the table and showed me how it's done. Great memory for a kid raised on corned beef and cabbage. RIP, Tommy— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) January 8, 2021
Man, my heart hurts over the loss of @Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda. For so many, Tommy was a true original. And without question, he was a Los Angeles icon. But for Italian-Americans, he was as familiar as the smell of mom's red sauce simmering on the stove every Sunday.— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) January 8, 2021
Here are some others.
Hall of Fame Dodgers Manager, LA icon, and my great friend Tommy Lasorda passed away late last night. For the last 8 years I’ve sat next to Tommy at every Dodgers game and he taught me invaluable lessons on the strategy and history of baseball. pic.twitter.com/6RxmoQ7Che— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 8, 2021
RIP Tommy Lasorda! One of the games greatest Icons ever. I really enjoyed our times together. You always told me I couldn’t hit your curveball. Your love for the game was second to none! We will always miss you Big guy! #MrDodger— Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) January 8, 2021
Will miss you, Tommy. No one had better stories or told them as well. So glad you went out a World Series champion. pic.twitter.com/VSrYOnvY4Q— Ken Levine (@KenLevine) January 8, 2021
Larry Bowa Statement to @6abc on Tommy Lasorda passing— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) January 8, 2021
“Tommy was one of the greatest ambassadors for our game. Not only was he an icon in our industry but he had a great career as the manager of the LA Dodgers... he was a tremendous person. My prayers go out to his family.” https://t.co/n8JyxDKs3K pic.twitter.com/DmJLoHkVmS
Having grown up in LA during Lasorda era, this was one of the most special moments I've ever photographed, Tommy Lasorda crying during the national anthem after leading the team to a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. RIP Tommy. https://t.co/Qu0UWsv4P2 pic.twitter.com/qLdqZJ7eZa— K.C. Alfred (@KCAlfredPhoto) January 8, 2021
The great Tommy Lasorda always said, if you don’t root for the Dodgers you may not get into heaven. He’s on his way. Love to the skipper and his wonderful wife Jo. @TommyLasorda pic.twitter.com/fd86pLBHrx— Tony Danza (@TonyDanza) January 8, 2021
Tommy Lasorda was the face of the franchise and the soul of this city.— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) January 8, 2021
I loved watching him as a kid take our boys in blue to two World Series championships and spending time with him as an adult, sitting with him in his office or visiting with him behind home plate. pic.twitter.com/jGxofqp8i1
Tommy Lasorda built a legacy as one of baseball’s great managers and ambassadors across seven decades in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. We extend our sympathies to his family, friends and the many Dodgers fans who connected with him across generations.— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) January 8, 2021