The Los Angeles Dodgers lost a beloved member of the franchise when Tommy Lasorda passed away in January at the age of 93. He is survived by his wife Jo, his daughter Laura and granddaughter Emily Tess.
Lasorda spent 71 years with the Dodgers organization as a player, coach, scout, manager, executive or special advisor. Twenty of those were as manager, which saw Lasorda go 1,599-1,439 and lead the team to eight National League West division titles, four NL pennants and two World Series championships (1981, 1988).
The Dodgers held an intimate Celebration of Life ceremony at Dodger Stadium earlier this year, with Eric Karros, Mickey Hatcher, and Justin and Kourtney Turner among those in attendance. Noticeably absent was Orel Hershiser, who has regularly spoke of Lasorda as a father figure.
Hershiser emotionally explained why that was the case during Sunday’s broadcast on SportsNet LA, revealing he contracted coronavirus (COVID-19) in January.
“I actually got a positive test January 12 — my wife’s birthday,” Hershiser said. “I wasn’t able to travel to California to be with Tommy, Jo, Laura, the whole family. Very sad day.”
Prior to the revelation, Hershiser was addressing the topic of ties in Spring Training and how that differed from his career, when games were played until a winner was decided. Hershiser recalled an instance he and another Minor Leaguer were watching a game at Vero Beach from the stands when Lasorda sent them to the clubhouse to get in uniform in case it went to extra innings.
By the time Hershiser had changed and was set to return to the stadium, he saw fans leaving because the game had ended. Hershiser largely laughed about the memory and recalled wondering if Lasorda was pulling a prank.
The conversation then shifted to how difficult it is for Hershiser to speak about Lasorda. “So many endearing moments with him. Just so special,” Hershiser said. “I didn’t know it was going to be this hard to talk about him. Wow. It just hits you.”
Dodgers set locker for Lasorda
The Dodgers are honoring Lasorda, along with Don Sutton, by wearing respective No. 2 and No. 20 jersey patches on their right sleeve. The Dodgers additionally set a locker for Lasorda at Spring Training to keep his presence at Camelback Ranch.
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