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Tommy Lasorda’s “Wild” First Major League Inning!
“I bleed Dodger Blue…and when I die I’m going to the Big Dodger in the sky!” –Tommy Lasorda
Not many fans realize that Tommy Lasorda was a great minor league pitcher, but on the major league level…well, not so hot. I guess we could say the first inning of Tommy’s very first game was an omen of things to come. Unfortunately, it proved to be a bad omen…
Tommy took the mound at Ebbets Field sixty-two years ago today, May 5, 1955, for his first major league start. Maybe we can just write it off as “first innings jetters,” or something like that. For whatever reason, Tommy proceeded to tie a record, but I’m sure it’s not one he’s proud of: Tommy threw not one…not two…but three (!) wild pitches in his very first inning!
And then just to add insult to injury (or perhaps better, “injury to insult”), Tommy got spiked by the Cardinals’ Dodger Wally Moon covering the plate after uncorking one of his three wild pitches. He was in the showers after one inning. All-in-all, a rather inauspicious start for the future Hall-of-Fame manager.
However there were some bright spots: Tommy recorded two strikeouts in the inning, including whiffing the great Stan Musial as his first major league KO. And even though Tommy was long-gone from the game, the Dodgers prevailed 4-3. “The Bums” went on to win the pennant and World Series in 1955. Tommy got a ring even though he didn’t play in the series.
Tommy spent parts of 14 seasons in the minors and posted a 136-104 record (.567) over 406 games, and 2166.2 innings, with100 complete games. In the majors he played three years (1954-’56) with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1954-’55), and the Kansas City Athletics (1956). Tommy went 0-4 with a 6.48 ERA over 58.3 innings in 26 games.
Of course, it’s as a highly successful manager where Tommy earned his Hall-of-Fame credentials. One of the most beloved figures in the game and a wonderful baseball ambassador, Tommy was at the Dodger helm for 20 seasons, with 3,041 games under his ample belt. He compiled a 1599-1439 record (.526). His 1599 wins ranks 20th all-time.Tommy’s Dodger teams won four pennants, eight divisional titles, and two World Series championships (1981 and ’88).
He was a two-time Manager of the Year (1983 and ’88), and his #2 has been retired by the Dodgers. In 2009, he marked his sixth decade in one capacity or another with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the longest non-continuous (he played one season with the Kansas City Athletics) tenure anyone has had with the team, edging Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully by a single season. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in 1997.
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Photo Credits: All from Google search
Information: Excerpts edited from the Tommy Lasorda Wikipedia page.