It’s a shame that No Mag isn’t available online, otherwise there would be an illuminating interview with Tommy Lasorda Jr. (with accompanying photograph) to share with you. And on a related note, the Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin speaks out in opposition to Tommy Sr.’s entry into the Canadian Baseball Hall Of Fame (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
Why is he in the hall? Unlike his well-nurtured public image, he’s in reality a mean-spirited, egocentric, homophobic bully who has done nothing for Canadian baseball.
In the winter of ’75, as a coach for the Dodgers, Lasorda even leveraged an offer to manage the Expos from club president John McHale, taking over from Gene Mauch, into the Dodgers’ job, taking over from Walter Alston. McHale always thought he had had an agreement.
When it was discovered in the late-’70s that Dodgers centre fielder Glenn Burke was gay and had befriended Lasorda’s son, Tommy, Jr., Burke alleges that he had him traded to the A’s.
Later on, at the time Lasorda’s AIDS-ridden son was gravely ill, another gay player, Billy Bean, alleged that Lasorda was still telling rough, unfunny, homophobic locker room jokes.
Throughout his Dodgers’ tenure, Lasorda was honoured by Italian-Canadian associations in Montreal. On one trip, a star-struck clothing manufacturer invited Lasorda and his coaches to his factory to sample his wares. The plan was to sell items at cost. After gathering armloads of samples, the Dodger was presented with a bill. He furiously stormed out of the factory because it wasn’t free.
Apparently, or so goes the legend, when Tommy found out that as a coach he wouldn’t receive a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics, he was upset, because he had passed up the opportunity for a lucrative speaking engagement back in the U.S.
In the years since 1976, whenever a player was traded from the Dodgers to the Expos or Jays, the vitriol they brought for Lasorda has been palpable. That is unlike the public image of Tommy the motivator.