Tommy Lasorda was a great patriot and competitor [Opinion]
Dodger legend Tommy Lasorda has passed and has joined “The Big Dodger in the Sky.”
Lasorda was a Veteran and served in the United States Army Reserves. He was a patriot and loved our country, baseball, and was always supportive of our military.
I was blessed to work with Tommy Lasorda while he was the manager of the Dodgers. Lasorda agreed to film television commercials to promote military service here in California.
Tommy Lasorda was great to all of our military film team and cut a bumper of spots before the game. Tommy invited us to sit behind home plate for the game and always took care of us.
In 1989 the California National Guard presented Tommy with its Commendation Medal. It was my honor to assist Gen. William D. Bates with the presentation by reading the citation over the Dodgers public address system.
The citation read, “Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda is presented with the Commendation Medal in Recognition of his patriotic support of the California National Guard.” The sold-out crowd gave Tommy Lasorda a standing ovation.
That was the beginning of a very special relationship with Tommy Lasorda and the Dodgers and Major League Baseball. Tommy opened many doors with legendary Dodgers Steve Harvey and Mike Scioscia. They joined Tommy in supporting the National Guard and also appeared in television public service announcements.
I still have his official Dodgers photograph in my home office. Tommy wrote, “ Tom- You, the Dodgers and the National Guard are great” and signed his signature to the photo.
I grew up an Angels fan. My wife is a Dodgers fan. The Dodgers had many victories and great players. Lasorda coached Steve Garvey, Daley Lopes, Bill Russell, Don Sutton, Fernando Valenzuela, Dusty Baker, Reggie Smith and many more.
I am also a Tommy Lasorda fan! He didn’t have to serve his country in the military, but he did. He was a great patriot and competitor. He loved his family, our country, and the Dodgers. We will miss his presence and colorful commentary.
As a Veteran, Tommy is entitled to military honors at his funeral service. I hope his wife and the Dodgers will include burial honors with his service at the church or graveside. Rest in peace, Tommy and enjoy your reunion with those baseball legends in the sky.
- Rom Freeman-and-Tommy Lasorda: Tom Freeman
- Tommy Lasorda: Shutterstock