The Los Angeles Dodgers organization continues to mourn the passing of Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, who spent 71 years with the team as a player, coach, scout, skipper, executive or special advisor.
The bulk of Lasorda’s success came as manager, during which time he guided the Dodgers to World Series titles in 1981 and 1988. His 1,599 career wins are second-most in Dodgers franchise history.
While Lasorda is most remembered for his fiery personality and time as Dodgers manager, he made a lasting impact on current and former players as well. Walker Buehler, Andre Ethier, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner are among those who have celebrated Lasorda’s memory.
Turner joined John Hartung and Nomar Garciaparra to discuss the former Dodgers manager and also shared quite the first experience he had with Lasorda, via SportsNet LA:
“I was in the wet room at Camelback Ranch, sitting in the hot tub, I was the only one in there. At the end of the day — this was in 2014 — Tommy would come in and do his pool workouts. So he was walking in and I kind of looked at him and was like, ‘Tommy what are you doing in here?’
“He said, ‘I’ve got to get my workout in. I’ve got to stay strong.’ I kind of chuckled, and he said, ‘What? You don’t believe me?’ And he put up his right fist and said, ‘You know what this is?’ I said, ‘No, Tommy, what’s that?’ He said, ‘That’s the hospital.’
“I kind of laughed and he put up his left fist and said, ‘Do you know what this is? This is the cemetery.’ And I started busted up laughing. I had never heard that before. I’m cracking up but it wasn’t a joke to him. He was dead serious. He walked over to the hot tub and put me in a chokehold.
“He’s like, ‘You think I’m joking? I’m still strong as ever!’ He was going at me and Im sitting there thinking, I don’t know what to do. Like, I can’t drag Tommy Lasorda into a hot tub right now, so I just kind of went along with it. He let go and started having a laugh. We sat in the wet room, talked about baseball and our relationship took off from there.”
The affinity Turner had for Lasorda was reciprocated, as the Hall of Famer regularly raved about his impact and importance to the franchise and city. When Turner hit a walk-off home run in the National League Championship Series on the anniversary of Kirk Gibson’s blast in the 1988 World Series, Lasorda referred to both as “money players.”
Lasorda witnessed Dodgers win World Series
His passion for the Dodgers unmatched, Lasorda longed to see the franchise win another championship. With the team in the World Series for a third time in the past four years, Lasorda traveled to Texas and was on hand for Game 6.
“I was so happy he was there,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The Dodgers made it possible, and it wouldn’t have been complete without him there.”
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