Met Tommy Lasorda-It Was More Than Getting an Autographed Baseball [PICS]
I was so sad to hear about the passing of the legendary coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda. I was fortunate to have met him, by chance, at spring training when I was 9 1/2. He was so nice and even gave me a baseball that he had the whole team sign. It was an awesome experience. My grandparents had a winter home in Vero Beach, Florida and every February/March we would drive down, as a family, and stay with them for two weeks. The Los Angeles Dodgers had their spring training camp in Vero Beach and in 1982 we went to see them.
It's funny the memories that you hold onto when you are a kid. I remember that day like it was yesterday and I was 9 1/2 years old. We went armed with plain postcards and pens. My mom had a camera with film in it. It was 1982. I recall she was taking a ton of pictures and my grandfather was off to the side of us near the fence. I noticed that he had struck up a conversation with the Dodgers' manager, the one and only, Tommy Lasorda. They were having a fun-spirited conversation in Italian. I had no idea what they were saying but they were really enjoying each other.
Tommy Lasorda made his way over to the small crowd where I was standing with other young kids after he spoke with my grandfather and started signing autographs. That's when I turned to my mom and asked her if I could take the pictures to school after they get developed. That's when Tommy Lasorda said to me, " How about a baseball young lady?" All of the kids piped up and said, "Yeah I'll take one!" and he responded, "I was talking to her."
That's when he yelled over to Dusty Baker who at the time was the 3rd baseman for the Dodgers, and he threw over a baseball. He asked me what my name was and signed the ball, "To Christine, Best of Luck, Tommy Lasorda". Then he threw the ball back to Dusty Baker and had him sign it and he passed it around.
The ball has grass stains and the autographs of Sandy Koufax (the Dodgers legend and Pitching Coach at the time), Mike Scioscia, Steve Sax, and more. (Side note: I thought I had the ball in a certain place but at the time of this article, I am unable to locate it. I am still searching.)
As a kid, there was nothing like being singled out to get a baseball from a major league manager. That was and still is one of the coolest days of my life. From the connection my grandfather and Tommy Lasorda had to be able to have that experience, it's a memory for a lifetime. That's me giving him a thank you kiss on the cheek.