Regarded by many as baseball's most popular ambassador, Tommy Lasorda has been working with the the Dodger organization for over 60 years. He was named Vice President in 1996 after retiring as manager, a position he held for the previous 20 seasons. Lasorda assumed all player personnel responsibilities when he was named the Dodgers' interim General Manager on June 22, 1998. He relinquished his General Manager duties when he was promoted to Senior Vice President in September of 1998.
In his current position, Lasorda reports directly to the Office of the Chairman, serving as an advisor on all areas of the Dodger organization for Owner & Chairman Frank McCourt and Vice Chairman Jamie McCourt. Lasorda's current responsibilities include scouting, evaluating, and teaching minor league players, acting as an advisor and ambassador for the Dodgers' international affiliations, and representing the franchise at more than 100 speaking engagements and appearances to various charities, private groups, and military personnel each year.
"Having devoted more than half a century to the Dodgers as a player, scout, coach, manager, and executive, Lasorda represents an incredible resource of information and perspective for this organization," McCourt said upon promoting Lasorda in 2005. "His name is synonymous with Dodger baseball and he is recognized around the world as one of the sport's most notable goodwill ambassadors. We will utilize his incomparable talents and keen mind on many varied projects."
Lasorda’s role in the globalization of game of baseball is now more evident than ever before, as Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig appointed him as the Official Ambassador of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. In that capacity, Lasorda served as a spokesperson for the tournament and traveled around the globe to promote the event and the game of baseball.
In June 2005, Lasorda was asked by President George W. Bush to serve as a delegate to the US National Day at the World Exposition in Aichi, Japan. This was one of more than 15 visits to Japan that he has taken in recent years, as he has also served as a key liaison between the Dodgers and the Orix Buffaloes in their “friendship” agreement over the past half decade.
The World Exposition was not the first time that President Bush called upon Lasorda for his assistance, as the Hall of Fame manager participated in the festivities surrounding the President’s inauguration in January 2005. Two months later, Lasorda accompanied Frank and Jamie McCourt, in addition to the family of Jackie Robinson, during a visit to the White House to represent the Dodgers in a ceremony that posthumously awarded Robinson with the Congressional Gold Medal.
He 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 was the recipient of the Association of Professional Baseball Players of America's inaugural Milton Richman Memorial Award with Sparky Anderson in 1987, the BBWAA Philadelphia Chapter's Humanitarian Award in 1993, Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce's Award of Merit in 1997, Touchdown Club of Columbus' Baseball Ambassador of the Year in 1997, Arete's Courage in Sports Award in 1997 and 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 serves on the Board of Directors for the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from Pepperdine University, St. Thomas University, Cal State Long Beach, University of Phoenix and Concordia University. He received his sixth honorary degree last May when he was honored by the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
In February 2003, he was honored by Cal Tech when he became only the second person to ever have an asteroid named after them. His asteroid is #6128, otherwise known as Asteroid Lasorda.