Another true icon gone, Tommy Lasorda
CHICAGO: Tommy Lasorda, the colorful former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and perpetual ambassador for the game of baseball, has passed. He was 93.
The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame was his home in Chicago, and Tommy was the Hall’s most ardent supporter. “I don’t believe he missed one annual Induction Gala since the Hall’s inception in 1977,” said Ron Onesti, President of the NIASHF. “Our former President and Founder, George Randazzo and he were like brothers. As I would produce the Gala every year, part of my own personal entertainment would be to watch the interaction between the two. Tommy would be so entertaining, always with jokes at the podium. The funny thing was that he really had only a few ‘zingers’ he would use, so before each gala, he would ask me which joke he used the year prior.”
The Hall of Fame had its Annual Tommy Lasorda Golf Tournament this past summer. Due to COVID, Tommy had to stay home, but he sent a wonderful video thanking all for their continued support.
“Every time we would call, Tommy came to our aid. Just a few weeks ago, I called him to talk about race relations during the time of Jackie Robinson,” Onesti said. “To the players, Jackie was a great man, not only for his ability in baseball, but also for his courage to stand for his people. I always admired that about him,” Tommy said.
“Tommy defined the term, ‘Larger than life’,” Onesti said. “He was bigger than baseball, bigger than sports, bigger than show biz. He was EVERYBODY’S Uncle Tommy. The red, white and green of his Italian heritage flowed through his veins. My favorite part of our gala was the final so-long of his speech.”
“…and as lay your head on the pillow each night, I would like you to ask God to bless Tommy and the Dodgers,” he would say.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and Italian Americans everywhere, we pledge to Tommy Lasorda to continue to do that.