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Author Topic: Tommy Lasorda - Comment & Trivia  (Read 1901 times)
JoeC
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« on: December 01, 2020, 08:31:02 PM »

Tommy, 93, is a helluva fighter. I see he made it out of the ICU in Orange County today after taking a turn for the worse about a week ago. Not sure what the illness is. Best of luck to him!

I saw Tommy pitch several times back in 1954 and 1955 for the Montreal Royals (against the NYY farm team, the Richmond Virginians). The Int'l League was a helluva tough league back then and Tommy was arguably the best pitcher in that circuit in the mid-50s. Had he come along a decade later, he would've had a good chance at a MLB career as a starter, what with all the expansion.

A couple Lasorda trivia questions for anyone inclined:

1. What hometown team signed Tom in 1945, age 17, right out of high school?

2. What team, other than Brooklyn, did Lasorda pitch for? Highlights with that team were striking out Mantle twice in one game, and striking out 10 White Sox in 8 2/3 inning in another (he still went 0-4) -- back when a 10 K game was something to note. 

3. Lasorda made his ML debut in Aug 1954 against the St Louis Cardinals. Name the five other HoF players who played in that game.


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Robb_K
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2020, 12:55:16 AM »

Tommy, 93, is a helluva fighter. I see he made it out of the ICU in Orange County today after taking a turn for the worse about a week ago. Not sure what the illness is. Best of luck to him!

I saw Tommy pitch several times back in 1954 and 1955 for the Montreal Royals (against the NYY farm team, the Richmond Virginians). The Int'l League was a helluva tough league back then and Tommy was arguably the best pitcher in that circuit in the mid-50s. Had he come along a decade later, he would've had a good chance at a MLB career as a starter, what with all the expansion.

A couple Lasorda trivia questions for anyone inclined:

1. What hometown team signed Tom in 1945, age 17, right out of high school?

2. What team, other than Brooklyn, did Lasorda pitch for? Highlights with that team were striking out Mantle twice in one game, and striking out 10 White Sox in 8 2/3 inning in another (he still went 0-4) -- back when a 10 K game was something to note. 

3. Lasorda made his ML debut in Aug 1954 against the St Louis Cardinals. Name the five other HoF players who played in that game.   

#2 -Tommy also pitched for The Kansas City A's. 

#3 - Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, and Roy Campanella. 
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JoeC
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2020, 08:25:16 AM »

Robb, Correct on #2 and #3.

Here's Tommy's "MLB Transaction History." I left out who he signed with (in case anyone still wants to try question #1). I never knew he was St Louis Browns and NYY "property" (at least on paper) at various points. Wonder why the Browns "returned" him?

November 24, 1948: Drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1948 minor league draft.

February 21, 1953: Purchased by the St. Louis Browns from the Brooklyn Dodgers.

March 26, 1953: Returned to the Brooklyn Dodgers by the St. Louis Browns following previous purchase.

March 2, 1956: Purchased by the Kansas City Athletics from the Brooklyn Dodgers.

July 11, 1956: Traded by the Kansas City Athletics to the New York Yankees for Wally Burnette.

May 26, 1957: Purchased by the Brooklyn Dodgers from the New York Yankees.

July 9, 1960: Released by the Los Angeles Dodgers.



« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 09:54:46 AM by JoeC » Logged
bklynmike101
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2020, 12:09:36 PM »

1. Since Lasorda was from Pennsylvania, could have been Pirates, Phils or A's. Since he later pitched for the A's, albeit in KC by then, I'll discard that guess. Since I'm not sure which side of PA he's from, I'll go with Pittsburgh.

A few years ago, he gave the graduation speech at the small college where my wife works. He fell asleep in-between his speech/meet and greets but gave a well-received if short speech full of the usual platitudes like "work hard", "never give up", and the like. We have a picture of him with my wife, who unfortunately can barely discern the difference between a baseball and a football (slight exaggeration).  Grin         
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Robb_K
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2020, 01:38:37 PM »

1. Since Lasorda was from Pennsylvania, could have been Pirates, Phils or A's. Since he later pitched for the A's, albeit in KC by then, I'll discard that guess. Since I'm not sure which side of PA he's from, I'll go with Pittsburgh.

A few years ago, he gave the graduation speech at the small college where my wife works. He fell asleep in-between his speech/meet and greets but gave a well-received if short speech full of the usual platitudes like "work hard", "never give up", and the like. We have a picture of him with my wife, who unfortunately can barely discern the difference between a baseball and a football (slight exaggeration).  Grin         

I would guess that LaSorda would be rather from Eastern Pennsylvania.  But from the wording, I doubt that the team referred to was a major league team. I would guess it was a minor league team, somewhere in Eastern Pennsylvania.  Tommy's speech sounded to me like East Coast to me rather than Great Lakes/Ohio Valley.  Scranton?  Allentown? 
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JoeC
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2020, 02:04:57 PM »

Apologies if my question was vague.

Tom was from Norristown, PA, a Philly suburb. I knew that only because his connection to Mike Piazza which was often made during Mike's career (he was also from Norristown and I think Lasorda played a role in his signing,; maybe he knew the Piazza family?).

Lasorda was signed by the Phillies in 1945, at age 17. He pitched for the Concord (NC) Weavers and the Schenectady (NY) Blue Jays between 1945 and when the Dodgers took him from Philly in 1948. He had a 13 strikeout game, and two 15 K performances in the Canadian-American League with Schenectady. That got the Dodgers attention.

My recollection is he didn't throw all that hard but had a sharp-breaking curve ball that lefty hitters had much trouble picking up. The fact that he was always considered a starter speaks a lot to how little relievers were valued back then. 180 degrees from today. 



« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 02:08:56 PM by JoeC » Logged
bklynmike101
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2020, 12:26:17 PM »

Ah yes. Lasorda signed Piazza in something like the 62nd round (now defunct) of the draft as a favor to Piazza's family, I think Lasorda was friends with Piazza's dad.

As a hurler, wasn't Tommy something of a wild man with walks just about equal (or greater) than K's in many seasons (minors)?
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Robb_K
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2020, 12:56:29 PM »

Ah yes. Lasorda signed Piazza in something like the 62nd round (now defunct) of the draft as a favor to Piazza's family, I think Lasorda was friends with Piazza's dad.

As a hurler, wasn't Tommy something of a wild man with walks just about equal (or greater) than K's in many seasons (minors)?     

THAT wasn't being WILD!!!  Back in the 1940s, having as many walks as strikeouts was normal (average for league batters and pitchers.  That's the situation that I grew up with. and is the normal state, to me.  Not the ridiculous normality of mostly swining and missing the ball, and when you finally manage to hit the ball, you only foul it off, barely top it to ground out, pop it up, or hit a home run!     Angry
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bklynmike101
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2020, 08:19:01 PM »

Robb,

I agree 100% with your assessment of todays' game - HR-K-BB.  And except for a very few sluggers, most batters (starters) had well under 100Ks, but looking up a few key 40's/'50's pitchers, the ratio of K's to BB's would normally be about 1.5:1 or at least 1.25:1, with some approaching 2:1.  In Lasorda's 1st 3 years combined, he walked 391 batters in 491 innings.  For his minor league career he recorded 1158 BBs vs 864 K's!*

*Somewhat misleading as there are no K's data for his 1st 3 seasons and its 391 BB's. Even excluding those 3 years, 767 BBs vs 864 K's. Pretty wild I'd say. 
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Robb_K
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2020, 04:22:50 AM »

Robb,

I agree 100% with your assessment of todays' game - HR-K-BB.  And except for a very few sluggers, most batters (starters) had well under 100Ks, but looking up a few key 40's/'50's pitchers, the ratio of K's to BB's would normally be about 1.5:1 or at least 1.25:1, with some approaching 2:1.  In Lasorda's 1st 3 years combined, he walked 391 batters in 491 innings.  For his minor league career he recorded 1158 BBs vs 864 K's!*

*Somewhat misleading as there are no K's data for his 1st 3 seasons and its 391 BB's. Even excluding those 3 years, 767 BBs vs 864 K's. Pretty wild I'd say. 

Of course "Key" pitchers would be a LOT better than average.  I was listing my impression of the average of the leagues.  That 1:1 average included The Browns who probably  averaged 1.0  SO to 1.7 walk, and ALL wild rookies and sore-armed pitchers, and "control pitchers", and teams that pitched in tiny ballparks, who'd rather give an intentional walk with the bases loaded to a good hitting team's Murderers' Row.
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bklynmike101
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2020, 12:07:39 PM »

Robb,

I agree 100% with your assessment of todays' game - HR-K-BB.  And except for a very few sluggers, most batters (starters) had well under 100Ks, but looking up a few key 40's/'50's pitchers, the ratio of K's to BB's would normally be about 1.5:1 or at least 1.25:1, with some approaching 2:1.  In Lasorda's 1st 3 years combined, he walked 391 batters in 491 innings.  For his minor league career he recorded 1158 BBs vs 864 K's!*

*Somewhat misleading as there are no K's data for his 1st 3 seasons and its 391 BB's. Even excluding those 3 years, 767 BBs vs 864 K's. Pretty wild I'd say. 

Of course "Key" pitchers would be a LOT better than average.  I was listing my impression of the average of the leagues.  That 1:1 average included The Browns who probably  averaged 1.0  SO to 1.7 walk, and ALL wild rookies and sore-armed pitchers, and "control pitchers", and teams that pitched in tiny ballparks, who'd rather give an intentional walk with the bases loaded to a good hitting team's Murderers' Row.

I've studied enough "stats" to know that the right way to go about it would be to find league-wide data but didn't know where I could readily obtain such info unless I embarked on a potentially time consuming Google research project which I wasn't about to do. I did look at data for Spahn, Burdette, Buhl, Sain, Ford, Trucks, and  Newhouser, not representative of the masses but as a quick gauge. I still think Tommy, especially early Tommy, took a walk on the wild side, er, so to speak. Roll Eyes
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2020, 09:53:44 PM »

LaSorda  was very cheap--didnt pay me for losing a boxing bet. Never picked up  a check. Story-at Vero Beach ignored the fact a batter had only one arm & struck him out.  His team got all over him,and  there was  nearly a fite in a meaningless Adult game.  He later apologized--saidhe didnt notice the one armed batter.

But a fighter--glad he got out of hospital thru front door & not back.
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JoeC
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2021, 01:50:39 PM »

RIP Tommy. Got released from the hospital in time to die at home last night of a heart attack.
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2021, 02:59:25 AM »

WOW not even news in LA. Great clips of him  on YT-on  Jm  Healy  radios  show.RIP
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bklynmike101
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2021, 01:57:53 PM »

Actually, the local TV stations and newspapers, including the Times, have devoted large sections of their programming/writing to his legacy, memories, and larger than life personality.   
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2021, 04:59:41 PM »

Its  easily explained--I  ignore  LA media-except sports. Oh I do  listen to  KNX radio  for  weather-traffic, & sports is  mixed  in on KNX.-but  heard  zero bout TL. RIP   For example I did hear a report on his being in hospital on KNX. Then the silly anchors asked    "Dr." Vince Ferragamo  for a  medical  update on Tommy.

Cant take  all the "between you and i'"  "Eckseteras," and the clowns  who can't tell  an abbreviation from an acronym. They always call words like MVP or ERA   an acronym.

Thats what I get for going to a few yrs of school, reading a lot, & yes even being on the radio-- R&B DJ
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