Jo Lasorda died in her Fullerton home on Monday night surrounded by her loved ones, the Dodgers announced. Lasorda, who was married to Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda for over 70 years, was 91 years old.
Greenville, South Carolina is where Jo and Tommy met in 1949, when Lasorda was a 21-year-old pitcher in the Class-A South Atlantic League in his first year in the Dodgers system. They met at a baseball game that took some convincing to get Joan “Jo” MIller to attend.
“I wasn’t a baseball fan. I’d only been to a couple of games, and I only went that night because my mother made me,” Jo Lasorda told the Associated Press in 1977. (1)
It didn’t take long for Jo and Tommy to hit it off, and the two were married on April 14, 1950. They were married for over 70 years, until Tommy Lasorda died this year on January 7.
As the old saying goes, behind every great man is a great woman, and Jo Lasorda definitely fit the bill. Whether it was coordinating Tommy’s many speaking engagements, showing up to games, or handling various things around the house while he was away, Jo was a fixture around the Dodgers for decades.
As good as Tommy was at hitting his talking points during a speech, Jo was pretty good at it, too, as two 1980s interviews suggest.
From the 1981 players strike:
“When he does come home, he really knows how to relax. He isn’t a handyman. That’s my responsibility,” Jo Lasorda said. (2) “Now I’m trying to get a garbage disposal in. Some men, that would be their job, but Tommy has no idea about that. He wouldn’t even know who to call.
“Tommy doesn’t enjoy working around the house. Other than relaxing and eating, he has no hobbies at home. He’s a baseball man through and through.”
“His salvation is when he comes home, he knows everything is taken care of and can relax,” Jo Lasorda said. (3) “He doesn’t bother with anything, whether we have a leak in the roof or need a plumber. He’s not exactly Mr. Fix-It. I mean, if a light bulb’s out he yells for me. He’s real spoiled.”
Jo Lasorda is survived by her daughter Laura, granddaughter Emily Tess, and sister Gladys Reeves.
- “Jo Lasorda: Tommy’s No. 1 fan,” the Associated Press. The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review, September 25, 1977.
- “It’s so nice to have your man around the house — or is it,” by Mark Heisler. Los Angeles Times, June 27, 1981.
- “‘Dodger Blue’ talk isn’t always cheap,” by Steve Dilbeck. San Bernardino County Sun, January 15, 1989.