Hall of Fame manager, Tommy Lasorda of the Los Angeles Dodgers will be a featured speaker at the St. Louis Browns Fan Club luncheon set for July 16, 2010. The lunch will be at the Holiday Inn Viking at 10709 Watson Rd. at Lindbergh in Sunset Hills.
If it weren't for Bill Veeck's cash-flow problems 50 years ago, Tommy Lasorda might never have bled Dodger Blue but instead he would have been a member of the St. Louis Browns.
In February 1953, the last year the Browns existed, the Brooklyn Dodgers sold Lasorda, a 25-year-old, left handed pitcher, to the St. Louis Browns for $50,000. But just a month later, Veeck had to tell Lasorda that he had no money and, in fact, owed $250,000. He hadn't paid the $50,000 for Lasorda or the $70,000 for shortstop Billy Hunter to the Dodgers, among other debts. "I've got to turn you back," said Veeck.
But what if. . . .
What if Lasorda had stayed with the Browns, who eventually were sold and moved to Baltimore the next year? Would he have become a famous Oriole and gone on to manage the Orioles instead of fellow Hall of Famer Earl Weaver?
Tommy Lasorda was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania and is a former Major League pitcher and manager. This year marks his 61st year in one capacity or another with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the longest tenure anyone has had with the team.
Lasorda became the Los Angeles manager in September 1976 upon Walter Alston's retirement. He compiled a record of 1,599 wins and 1,439 losses as Dodgers manager, won two World Series championships in (1981 and 1988), four National League pennants and eight division titles in his 20 year career as the Dodgers Manager. His 16 wins in 30 NL Championship games managed were the most of any manager at the time of his retirement. His 61 post-season games managed ranks fourth behind Bobby Cox, Casey Stengel and Joe Torre. He also managed in four All-Star games.
Lasorda managed nine players who won the National League Rookie of the Year award. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 as a manager in his first year of eligibility. About the St. Louis Browns Fan Club The St. Louis Browns Fan Club is in its 26th year. The goal of the organization is to preserve the history and memory of the St. Louis Browns. The team played in St. Louis from 1902 through the 1953 season when it moved to Baltimore to become the Baltimore Orioles. Information on the luncheon is available from Bill Rogers, Editor of the teamís magazine, Pop Flies at 314-892-8632.
Reservations for the July 16 luncheon can be made by sending a check for $24 payable to the St. Louis Browns Fan Club to Rick Stamper, 509 Geyer Rd., Kirkwood, MO 63122.
Further information is available through the organizationís websites.