Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda developed a reputation as having a fiery, if not combative, personality throughout his years at the helm. Though that was often channeled to motivate his team, it led to an altercation with a mascot on this day in Dodgers history.
With the Dodgers facing the Phillies at Veterans Stadium on Aug. 28, 1988, Lasorda grew irate over Phillie Phanatic dressing a dummy in his jersey. He stormed out of the dugout and began to take Phillie Phanatic’s all-terrain vehicle.
As the Phillies’ mascot began to walk toward Lasorda, the Dodgers skipper turned around and stormed after him. A tug-of-war ensued and Lasorda wound up with the doll, which he used to repeatedly hit Phillie Phanatic with.
It wasn’t Lasorda’s lone altercation with a mascot during his time as Dodgers manager. The following August, Lasorda began yelling at the umpires for an unknown reason during a game against the Montreal Expos.
It wound up being because the Expos mascot, Youppi!, was dancing on top of the visitor’s dugout and taunting Lasorda and the players for the better part of two innings. Lasorda was furious about what was going on, and the result was Youppi! being the first mascot ever ejected from an MLB game.
Whether coincidence or not, the Dodgers won both games in which Lasorda became irate with a mascot. They defeated the Expos in 22 innings behind Rick Dempsey’s solo home run, and scored three runs in the first inning on Franklin Stubbs’ double en route to a 5-0 victory over the Phillies.
Lasorda spent 20 seasons managing the Dodgers and proved to be a worth successor to Alston. Lasorda went 1,599-1,439-2, won eight NL West titles, four pennants and two World Series. He abruptly announced his retirement in July 1996 in some part due to health concerns and at the time he transitioned into a role as Dodgers vice president.
Lasorda has maintained close ties and an active presence with the organization since and had his No. 2 jersey retired by the organization on Aug. 15, 1997.