Dodgers Historian’s Eventful Spring Training Alongside Lasorda

Photos courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers
Tommy Lasorda (right), who passed away last week at age 93, is pictured at 1988 spring training with newly acquired Kirk Gibson, who would provide the most iconic home run in Dodgers history seven months later. Lasorda’s career included two World Series championships, an Olympic gold medal victory, and more celebrity speaking engagements and free meals than could be counted.

By Mark Langill
Special to The Outlook

My Master’s Class at Tommy Lasorda University began in spring training 2007 with one day’s notice and a late-night phone call that sounded like the opening of an action movie. The unlikely supporting actor was a somewhat mild-mannered team historian who wasn’t scheduled to appear at the team’s Vero Beach training facility until a few weeks later for his publicity department assignments.
“Can you be in Florida tomorrow morning?” asked a Dodgers executive. “Tommy’s assistant has taken a leave of absence and you’re the only one who can do his job.”
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As for Dodgers’ History, He’s the Answer Man

Photo courtesy John SooHoo / Dodgers Mark Langill, pictured with former Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre, traveled with the Dodgers to China in 2008.

As baseball fans recently began a strange yet historic period of watching sporting events amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing crossed the mind of Los Angeles Dodgers team historian Mark Langill.
“I think the greatest thing I can say right now about this pandemic baseball is I was wondering how many days it would take until somebody complained if the team went into a slump,” said Langill, who besides working with the organization since 1994 has written three books on topics related to it.
It took only four games, but the South Pasadena native could not help but love the reaction from fans.
“You look at the rest of the news, it looks like ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ every night, but thanks to baseball we have an escape,” he said. “We can put on that tunnel vision and think, ‘What’s up with the offense?’”

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Former Dodger Executive’s Journey From Pasadena to City of Hope

By Tim Madigan
Special to The Outlook

Fred Claire and former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda are pictured in a 1988 championship celebration on the cover of Tim Madigan’s upcoming book, “Extra Innings: Fred Claire’s Journey to City of Hope and Finding a Remarkable Team.”

I met Pasadena resident Fred Claire about this time last year on my first visit to City of Hope National Medical Center. Fred, his wife, Sheryl, and I talked for two hours that first day, sitting in the shade outside a research building on the sprawling campus. Fred never let on then that he was in terrible pain from an infection in his cancer-ravaged jaw. Instead, the former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers kept turning our conversation back to the men and women of City of Hope who were fighting to save his life.
“I want the world to know how I feel about these people,” he told me that day. “I couldn’t invent this. Nothing is contrived. Everything is real. This is the greatest team I’ve ever been involved with. I’ve known great players and great teams. I’ve never had the opportunity to be involved in anything like this.”
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Lasorda to Be Honored at Golf Tournament Benefitting City of Hope

Tommy Lasorda, the Hall of Famer who managed the Los Angeles Dodgers for two decades, will be honored at the Fred Claire Celebrity Golf Classic, which benefits City of Hope, at Oakmont Country Club on Monday, Aug. 20.
Tommy Lasorda, the Hall of Famer who managed the Los Angeles Dodgers for two decades, will be honored at the Fred Claire Celebrity Golf Classic, which benefits City of Hope, at Oakmont Country Club on Monday, Aug. 20.

Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda has been selected as the recipient of the Celebration of Life award in conjunction with the Fred Claire Celebrity Golf Classic that benefits City of Hope. The second annual event will be held on Monday, Aug. 20, at Oakmont Country Club, with all proceeds benefiting City of Hope’s head and neck and thyroid cancer programs.
“We are honored that Tommy will be with us at our tournament dinner to accept this award,” Fred Claire said. “Tommy’s ongoing involvement with so many great causes and charities is a tribute to him and to his family and makes him an ideal recipient of the Celebration of Life award.”
Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew received the first Celebration of Life award last year from Claire and Dr. Stephen J. Forman of City of Hope.
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Students Treat All-Star Teacher to World Series Game

It took less than a day for Rita Brown’s students and their families, past and present, to pool $2,740, well more than the goal of $2,000 they had set.
It was money well-spent.
Brown, a longtime Dodgers fan and teacher at San Marino Community Church Nursery School since 1980, enjoyed an all-expenses-paid trip to Game 2 of this year’s World Series. On Wednesday, Oct. 25, she and her husband were at Dodger Stadium, watching their beloved ball club continue its bid for greatness. Continue reading “Students Treat All-Star Teacher to World Series Game”