We just lost an athlete with a great passion for life. “The man whose picture appears on restaurant walls in virtually every major city in the nation readily admits he has never met a meal he didn’t like. For that matter, there haven’t been that many restaurants he’s forsaken.”( https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1985-10-03-fo-1031-story.html). His name was Tommy Lasorda, who, we just lost at 93 years of age. Hail fellow well met defined him.
He was an athlete, manager and the best of story tellers. You couldn’t love the game more than Tommy. His favorite story that I‘ve heard was that he was the departing lefty who left room on the Dodgers for another left handed pitcher, a young man with great potential, Sandy Koufax.
About 35 years later, the 1988 World Series had commenced. Tommy was managing the Dodgers. They were playing the Oakland Athletics. Kirk Gibson had injured his right knee sliding into second base in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against the Mets.
The pain continued into the World Series. It was Game 1. With the potential for a game winning home run, Kirk did just that in his only plate appearance in the entire Series, won by the Dodgers. The hit was against an excellent closer, Dennis Eckersley. Tommy Lasorda’s hunch to pinch hit with Kirk was the finest intuitive move I have ever seen from a manager/coach in any sport.
No baseball fan in 1988 will ever forget Kirk’s four bagger or Tommy’s decision. Rest in peace Tommy. You were a great joy to see and hear on the field and off.