Tommy Lasorda, the man who once said, “Cut my veins, and I bleed Dodger blue”, passed away today at the age of 93. He made his MLB debut on April 54 1954, for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the next year appeared in a spring exhibition game in Nashville against the Milwaukee Braves.
The game was played on Monday, April 4, 1955, only seven days after Sulphur Dell was under fourteen feet of water due to heavy rains that caused the Cumberland River to overflow its banks.
In front of 5,117 fans, Nashville’s Junior Gilliam led off the game with a double, followed by a single by Jackie Robinson. Duke Snider flied out to centerfield and Gilliam scored the Dodgers’ first run.
Eddie Mathews hit three home runs to no avail, as Brooklyn defeated the Braves, 10-8. Mathews’ first homer was off Don Newcombe, a 340-foot drive over the left-field wall.
Sandy Amoros has two home runs, Duke Snider adds two singles and a double, and Gil Hodges has two doubles for the Dodgers.
Milwaukee’s Hank Aaron hits one round-tripper, and Johnny Logan has two doubles and a triple.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, manager Walt Alston sent Tommy Lasorda to the mound to relieve Don Bessent with one out. Lasorda walked in a run, but with the tying and winning runs in scoring position, the future Hall of Famer struck out catcher Jack Parks on three pitches before pinch-hitter Charley White hits a high infield fly for out number three to seal the win.
A month later, on May 5, Lasorda made the only start of his career against the St. Louis Cardinals. However, he left the game in the first inning after tying a major league record with three wild pitches in one inning, and being spiked by Wally Moon of the St. Louis Cardinals when Moon scored on the third wild pitch.
Lasorda was demoted to Montreal after the game and never pitched for the Dodgers again. He became manager of the Dodgers and in 1976 and remained in the position through 1996. His clubs won 1,599 games, two World Series and two more National League pennants – all with the Dodgers. He was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Rest in Peace Tommy Lasorda.
© 2021 by Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.