Greatest sports figures in L.A. history, No. 11: Tommy Lasorda
Continuing our countdown of the 20 greatest figures in L.A. sports history, as chosen in voting by our online readers, with No. 11, Tommy Lasorda.
No. 11 Tommy Lasorda (39 first-place votes, 1,641 points)
There have been few figures in L.A. sports history who have been as larger-than-life as former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. You either love him or love to hate him, but it's almost guaranteed that everyone has some sort of opinion.
After serving four seasons as third-base coach, Lasorda became the Dodgers manager on Sept. 29, 1976, upon the retirement of the legendary Walter Alston. All Lasorda did in his 20 years as manager was win 1,599 games, two World Series championships (1981 and 1988), four National League pennants (1977, 78, 81 and 88) and seven division titles (1977, 78, 81, 83, 85, 88, 95). The Dodgers also led the division when the rest of the 1994 season was canceled because of a labor dispute.
His final game was a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros on June 23, 1996. The following day he drove himself to the hospital complaining of abdominal pains, and in fact he was having a heart attack. He officially retired on July 29, 1996. His 1,599 career wins rank 16th in MLB history.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 in his first year of eligibility and the Dodgers retired his uniform number, 2, on Aug. 15, 1997.
Photo: Tommy Lasorda looks on from the dugout as he serves as an honorary coach during the game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 22, 2011. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images.