Tommy Lasorda suits up on birthday
LOS ANGELES -- In celebration of his 84th birthday, Tommy Lasorda donned the uniform of the Los Angeles Dodgers once again for Thursday night's home finale against the San Francisco Giants and was on the bench as an honorary coach.
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Lasorda, who guided the Dodgers to four National League pennants and two World Series championships during his 20 seasons as the team's manager and was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, was invited to suit up by manager Don Mattingly, but Mattingly said the original idea wasn't his.
Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers vice president for communications, said the idea was hatched by a team staffer who wished to remain anonymous. Rawitch presented the idea to Mattingly so that Mattingly could be the one to issue the formal invitation.
"Mattingly asked me if I would do it, and I am really grateful for them to think of me to do something like that," Lasorda said. "It means a great deal to me, without a doubt."
Lasorda also managed the Dodgers for a week during spring training in 2008 while then-manager Joe Torre accompanied a split squad to Beijing. At the time of Lasorda's retirement following a heart attack during the 1996 season, he was one of only two managers, along with the late Walter Alston, the Dodgers had employed in the 39 seasons since they had moved from Brooklyn. Since then, the Dodgers have had seven different managers, including Mattingly, who took over this season after Torre retired.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.