Bob Lemke created a custom card of Tommy Lasorda in the style of 1956 Topps. It's a terrific looking card and it got me to thinking back on Lasorda's 1978 Topps card. The manager cards in the '78 set are unique in that they devote half of the horizontal design to a present photo as manager, and the other half to a black and white photo as a player. Nothing quite like it has been done before or since.
In those days, Spring Training meant gather around the TV to watch KTLA and see Dodger Blue bash the Giants around Vero Beach. That was why we tuned it. Sure, beating the Reds is fun, or maybe the Cardinals, but when it comes down to it, if you're a Dodger fan, you want to see the Giants go down. I've loved the Angels since I was old enough to walk, but seriously, if they televised 5 Angel games a year in the 60's or early 70's, it would have been a miracle. If you wanted to watch baseball on TV, it was Dodgers or annoying Garagiola on NBC Saturday morning baseball. McCarver was still actually playing, so we didn't have to endure him just yet.
I still remember Vin Scully telling us about Farmer John sausages, I bet to this day he mutters "corn fed, Eastern bred" in his sleep. This Saturday morning, Mr. Scully finishes telling us about sausage and passes things over to Jerry Doggett down on the field in Vero. I'm waiting to see Garvey or Cey we instead get some chubby guy with a big grin and he's awfully touchy. I mean, he just hugged Jerry Doggett! You don't just hug Jerry Doggett, that's not cool.
Who knows what I thought at that time. Is he a rookie? Is he a coach? Who is this guy? He's so fat!
Then Doggett calls him "manager" and I'm thinking... um, no, Walter Alston is manager. Alston has been manager my whole life. Alston has been manager most of my dad's life. Walter Alston will be the Dodger manager long after I've passed on.
But then he says it again. "Tommy Lasorda, Dodger's manager".
This Lasorda guy keeps talking and talking and Doggett is probably loving it because, let's face it, Jerry does not talk much. Scully was the color man, Scully always handled play-by-play for at least 8 of the 9 innings. At some point Scully had to go pee, probably, and that's the only time you heard Doggett do play-by-play.
Tommy Lasorda. Dodger's Manager. That's going to take some getting used to.
As weird as it was, I got over it. The '77 Dodgers were one of the greatest teams to ever take the field. They went to the World Series then ended up losing to the stinking Yankees. But I'd seen the Yankees whip the Angels many times, I was used to it.