Tommy Lasorda’s brief stint as a Yankees Minor Leaguer

Art or Photo Credit: USA Today

Hall of Fame manager and all-around baseball legend Tommy Lasorda passed away at the age of 93 last week, leaving behind countless words of wisdom and tall tales from his lifelong love affair with the game of baseball.

The Norristown, Pennsylvania native will forever be linked to the Dodgers franchise for whom Lasorda played, scouted, managed and served in the front office for seven decades, but while he was still an up-and-coming Minor League prospect, Lasorda was briefly a member of the Yankees organization.

After starting out his big-league pitching career as an undrafted free agent with the Phillies in 1945, Lasorda was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 following two years of service in the armed forces.

After eight games with the Dodgers (in which he notched 11 walks and 11 earned runs in 13 innings between 1954-55), the wild-throwing southpaw was purchased by the Kansas City Athletics on March 2, 1956.

Later that season, on July 11, the Athletics sent Tommy to the New York Yankees in exchange for right-hander Wally Burnette, thus making the iconic Lasorda a Yankees farmhand for a brief time from 1956-57.

Lasorda reported to the Triple-A Denver Bears at this time where he would play under future Yankees manager Ralph Houk, winner of back-to-back World Series titles with the Bombers in 1961 and 1962.

Lasorda learned a lot about what it took to be a successful manager from Houk, and eventually earned himself two MLB Manager of the Year Awards in 1983 and 1988 as well as a pair of World Series championships on his way to Cooperstown.

For 21 seasons, Lasorda managed the Dodgers and won 1,599 games while cementing himself as one of the most iconic figures in franchise history, but for a brief time he managed to etch his name into the Yankees history books.