Northwood University recently bestowed Tommy Lasorda with an honorary doctorate degree at its 2014 commencement ceremony held at its West Palm Beach, Florida campus.Featured in this CBS12 story, Lasorda was a teenager growing up in Norristown Pennsylvania, when a milk carton “contented cows give better milk” slogan continually reminded him to do whatever it took to support his buddies, a quality that would serve to recognize him as one of the world’s greatest baseball personalities.
Born the second of five boys to Sabatino and Carmella Lasorda on September 22, 1927, Lasorda began his career as a major league player with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945, a stint that would lead to his legendary helm of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1977-1996 and a 1997 Baseball Hall of Fame election.
Under his leadership, the team won 1,599 games, eight National League West titles, four National League pennants and two World Series championships. He managed four All-Star games, and in 1997 was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame. After retirement in 1996, Lasorda has remained involved with the Dodgers in various senior positions. Now serving as Special Advisor to the Chairman, he is regarded by many as baseball’s most popular goodwill ambassador, and begins his 65th season in the Dodger organization and seventh as Special Advisor to the Chairman. He was named Vice President in 1996 after retiring as manager and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 1998.
Still applying his instinctive leadership style toward his current responsibilities of scouting, evaluating, and teaching minor league players, Lasorda is enshrined in 17 different Halls of Fame, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and has been the recipient of many awards.
And for those who don’t know the game of baseball, it’s Lasorda’s reputation of helping inner city kids, connection to the one he calls ‘The Big Dodger in the Sky,’ two separate seasons playing in the Cuban winter league in the 1950’s, kindness to those much lower on the totem pole, and 64-year marriage to his wife Jo that earn him a special place in hearts and minds. Now residing in Fullerton, California, the couple renamed a gymnasium and youth center in memory of their son, Tom Jr., and are also the proud grandparents of Emily Tess (18), the child of their daughter, Laura Lasorda.