Jan. 22, 2002
Michiana-area baseball fans will have the chance to participate in a special event on Monday, Feb. 18, when the Notre Dame baseball program will present its “Opening Night Dinner” featuring one of the game’s greatest ambassadors-Tommy Lasorda-as the dinner’s keynote speaker.
The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will allow attendees to experience a motivational talk by Lasorda, who won two World Series titles and nearly 1,600 games during his 20-year Hall of Fame career as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers before guiding Team USA to an historic win over Cuba in the gold-medal game at the 2000 Olympic Games.
The special night also will provide those attending with the opportunity to visit with members of Notre Dame’s nationally-ranked baseball team.
The “ballpark-style” dinner will begin at 7:00 p.m., in the Joyce Center concourse and Monogram Room. The night’s festivities will include the opportunity to win a variety of baseball and sports-related door prizes while Notre Dame baseball coach Paul Mainieri will introduce the Irish team members, who will be available for autographs from 6:00-6:45 in the Monogram Room.
Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for high school/college students and youth. Each person attending the banquet will receive a general admission season ticket for the entire 2002 Notre Dame baseball regular-season schedule. Banquet attendees also will receive advance copies of the Notre Dame baseball schedule poster, a schedule magnet and team media guide–with the chance to have those items autographed by the Notre Dame players.
For dinner ticket information, please contact Wally Widelski (219-631-6366) or Brian Kegler (219-631-3264).
Tommy Lasorda Biography
(courtesy of USA Baseball)
- Tommy Lasorda became the first manager in the history of baseball to win both a World Series championship and an Olympic gold medal, after guiding the 2000 USA Baseball Olympic Team to an historic 4-0 victory over Cuba to capture the first Olympic gold medal in the sport of baseball for the United States. His squad went 8-1 overall in Sydney.
- Regarded by many as baseball’s most popular ambassador, Lasorda has begun his 52nd season in the Dodgers organization. He was named vice president of the Dodgers in1996, after retiring to end his 20-year stint as the club’s manager. In his current front-office capacity, Lasorda spends much of his time scouting, evaluating and teaching minor- league players as well as spreading baseball goodwill to thousands as he makes more than 100 speeches and appearances to various charities, private groups and military personnel each year.
- Lasorda was elected in 1997 to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in his first year of eligibility. He was the 14th manager and 15th Dodger inducted into the Hall of Fame. Lasorda’s uniform number (2) was retired by the Dodgers on Aug. 15, 1997, and the main street that leads to the entrance of Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., was renamed Tommy Lasorda Lane on March 5, 1997. He also threw out the first pitch in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
- Lasorda compiled a 1,599-1,439 record and won two World Championships, four N.L. pennants and eight division titles in his 20-year career as the Dodgers manager. He ranks 13th with 1,599 wins and 12th with 3,038 games managed in major league history. His 61 postseason games rank third all-time behind Bobby Cox and Casey Stengel. Lasorda posted a 3-1 record as the N.L. manager in four All-Star Games. He joined Gabby Street (1930-31 St. Louis Cardinals) as the only managers in N.L. history to win league titles in their first two seasons, leading the Dodgers to titles in 1977 and ’78.
- Prior to replacing Hall of Famer Walter Alston as manager on Sept. 29, 1976, Lasorda spent four seasons in Los Angeles on Alston’s coaching staff from 1973-76. He spent eight seasons as a manager in the Dodgers’ minor league system at Pocatello (1965), Ogden (1966-68), Spokane (1969-71) and Albuquerque (1972). As a player, Lasorda compiled an 0-4 record and 6.52 ERA as a left-handed pitcher in parts of three major league seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1954-55) and Kansas City Athletics (1956). In all, he spent 16 seasons in the minor leagues from 1945-60, including a two-year stint in the military from 1946-47.
- Lasorda has won numerous awards throughout his career, including being named Minor League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News in 1970, Manager of the Year by UPI and AP in 1977, Manager of the Year by AP in 1981, and N.L. Manager of the Year by Baseball America and Co-Manager of the Year by The Sporting News in 1988. He joined Sparky Anderson as co-recipients of the Association of Professional Baseball Players of America’s inaugural Milton Richman Memorial Award in 1987, in addition to receiving the BBWAA Philadelphia Chapter’s Humanitarian Award in 1993, the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce’s Award of Merit in 1997, the Touchdown Club of Columbus’ Baseball Ambassador of the Year in 1997 and Arete’s Courage in Sports Award in 1997. He was honored by the President of the Dominican Republic in 1997 for his dedication to the game of baseball throughout his career.
- Lasorda has been a spokesperson for the American Heart Association and received honorary doctorate degrees from Pepperdine University, St. Thomas (Fla.) University and the University of Phoenix. Lasorda and his wife Jo reside in Fullerton, Calif. The couple renamed a gymnasium and youth center in memory of their son, Tom Jr., in Yorba Linda, Calif. on Sept. 7, 1997. They also are the proud grandparents of Emily Tess, who is the four-year-old child of their daughter Laura and son-in-law Bill Goldberg.