Thomas Charles Lasorda was an icon and memorable personality in America’s favorite pastime.
A man of many accolades, he was an MLB pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics but was more well-known for his prestigious position as a manager for the Dodgers.
Lasorda was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 as a manager and inducted into the Fullerton College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.
He was born on Sept. 22, 1927, in Norristown, Pennsylvania and passed away on Jan. 7, 2021, in Fullerton, California at the age of 93.
Lasorda lived in Fullerton for more than 50 years.
Fullerton residents and community members loved Tommy as a player, manager, coach, idol and friend.
Nick Fuscardo, a close friend of Lasorda’s, shared a few stories about Lasorda’s impact on Fullerton College and the community.
Fucsardo is no stranger to Fullerton College or the game of baseball.
Throughout his 51 years coaching career, he spent 13 years at Troy High School before coaching the Fullerton College Hornets for 38 years.
Lasorda was one of the many people Fuscardo befriended along the way.
“Tommy was very generous, such a big-hearted man, we got along well especially since we were both Italian. Tommy was happy to be an American, a strong U.S. Patriot since he knew how hard his parents tried to be here to give his family a better life and he loves this country, he really loved it,” Fuscardo said.
Lasorda was nothing but a man who cared for others around him.
“When he was inducted into our Hall of Fame here at Fullerton College, he wasn’t like others at that ceremony. Many others would get their honor, say their speech, and leave and not give any love or praise to the others getting honored that night, but not Tommy, he sat through the whole ceremony congratulating everyone that received honor and was happy to be there. He gave a great speech,” Fuscardo added.
Lasorda was inducted into the Hornet Hall of Fame not as an athlete but as a strong supporter of the athletic programs at Fullerton College. He was a great mentor and gave lots of advice to student-athletes on the field with his knowledge of America’s pastime and many decades of experience managing the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Tommy was such a nice man and it wasn’t like he was some celebrity to us. He would just show up from time to time to talk to guys out on the field and was more than happy to come back whenever we had a game or event,” Fuscardo said.
Lasorda was very involved with the Hornets baseball team. He would jokingly tell players: “If you don’t win, you’re going to embarrass me,” and emphasized the importance of maintaining a winning mentality throughout the game.
“He’s another great sports legend we’ve lost in the last year. When you have a friend or a guy like that in your life you think they’ll live until they’re 200, but it was his time. I really wished I could attend any services and he deserved such a better goodbye, but this pandemic wouldn’t allow it,” Fuscardo added.
“I wasn’t ready to lose Tommy, he was such a great person, so respectful, loved to joke around, I’m really going to miss him. It’s life and he left a legacy,” Fuscrdo said.