Bobby Valentine remembers ‘very special’ Tommy Lasorda moment

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Bobby Valentine remembered Tommy Lasorda’s joy. He remembered his passion and fire. His outgoing personality and everyman temperament.

Most of all, on the day the world found out that the legendary Dodgers manager passed away at the age of 93, he fondly thought back to this past Oct. 28. It was that night Lasorda’s Dodgers won the World Series — their first crown since Lasorda managed them to the title 32 years earlier — and he was there to soak it all in.

“I don’t know how that chapter could’ve been written any better, and the Dodgers did what they needed to do, they got Tommy to stand up on his own when the last out was made, put his hands up over his head and say, ‘We did it,’ ” Valentine, the former Mets, Rangers and Red Sox manager who now serves as the Sacred Heart University athletic director, said over Zoom on Friday. “It was very special.”

Lasorda, a mentor to Valentine, was in attendance at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, and so were some former Dodgers players, guys like Eric Karros and Rick Honeycutt. Lasorda, who led the Dodgers to two world championships, four National League pennants and eight division titles in 20 seasons, was able to fly to the game on friend Warren Lichtenstein’s private plane. Everyone got tested for COVD-19 before entering the suite, and the Dodgers prevailed, making it an unforgettable night.

Mets
Bobby Valentine (r.) and Tommy Lasorda share a laugh in 1999.
Jason Szenes

“It was an amazing situation,” Valentine said.

Less than three months later, Lasorda had died, after suffering from sudden cardiac arrest at home late Thursday night. Valentine mostly spoke about Lasorda the person instead of the baseball man, about how much he got out of life, how friendly and warm he would be to complete strangers.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, arrangements to remember Lasorda will be limited. One way Valentine hopes Lasorda will be honored is by people posting photos taken with him to the website, TommyMosaic.org.

The site reads: “Tommy was one of a kind, and touched so many lives. Submit your photo and memory to the Tommy Lasorda Mosaic.” Further details on donations, photo approval and the mosaic’s virtual unveiling will come soon.

“I’m hoping that will live on the Internet and maybe even live on [at] Dodger Stadium,” Valentine said. “My take is he has already set the world record of photographs taken with other people and I’m going to try to prove that with this mosaic.”

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