Dodgers: Al Michaels’ Tommy Lasorda origin story is amazing
By Adam Weinrib
Legendary announcer Al Michaels has an amazing Tommy Lasorda story, of course.
The story of the Los Angeles Dodgers cannot be told without acknowledging the seemingly endless parade of legends that found their footing in the organization over the past several decades.
The early ’70s, specifically, featured an unparalleled talent pipeline, from Steve Garvey to Bill Buckner to, yes, Tommy Lasorda, who conquered Triple-A before getting a promotion to the bigs under Walter Alston.
Among the myriad names Lasorda nurtured at the minor-league level, you’ll find a rather unexpected one, though: legendary broadcaster Al Michaels, who the manager came across when he was calling games for the Pacific Coast League’s Hawaii Islanders in the late 1960s.
Michaels regaled Rich Eisen with the legendary story of how Lasorda “discovered” him yet again this week, and as expected, it’s a complete delight.
Getting thrown out not once but twice consecutively can give a manager plenty of reflection time, and a third ejection two days later only increased Lasorda’s solitude — and his ability to appraise Michaels’ broadcast ability. Great work by everyone involved — especially to the fiery Lasorda in discovering a way to take a few days off without wasting any vacation time..
Michaels also revealed at the tail end of the tale that he’d spoken to Lasorda recently, on the occasion of his selection as 2021’s Ford C. Frick Award winner at the Baseball Hall of Fame’s forthcoming ceremony.
Though Lasorda didn’t sound well (after all, this was December, firmly in the middle of his hospital stay), Michaels was still clearly touched by the gesture and so happy to speak to his friend one last time.
Touched by Dodgers legends throughout his career, Michaels also gave much of the credit for his development to none other than Vin Scully, putting a perfectly linear bow on his entire Hollywood-flavored origin story.
Though Dodger Blue will continue to shine — and will be presented with some fresh, new, legacy-defining rings this spring — things will never quite be the same without No. 2 in the stands.
Al Michaels, who can spot talent, too, will surely notice the difference.