Tom Lasorda, who led Los Angeles to the World Series championship and their sixth National League West title in 12 years, was named NL Manager of the Year Wednesday by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Lasorda received 101 points in balloting by a committee of two writers from each NL city. He had 19 first-place votes and was named on 23 of 24 ballots. It was the second time Lasorda was voted manager of the year as he won the award in 1983, its initial year.
Jim Leyland of Pittsburgh was second with 50 points after leading the Pirates to an 85-75 record and second place in the East behind the New York Mets.
Davey Johnson, who led the Mets to a league-leading 100-60 record and their second East title in three years, was third with 38 points.
Jack McKeon, who took over the Padres from Larry Bowa on May 28, was fourth with 27 points. San Diego was 67-48 under McKeon and had the second-best record in the league over the final four months of the season.
Lasorda learned that he had won while flying to Los Angeles after the Dodgers had been honored Wednesday at the White House.
“This completes my day--one of the greatest days of my life,” the Dodger manager told Jack Lang, secretary-treasurer of the writers’ group, in a telephone conversation from the plane.
A writer accompanying the team had called Lang for the results of the balloting.
“Any success that a manager gets can only come through the contributions of the players because they’re the ones that do the job,” Lasorda said at the White House.
The Dodgers, who won the West by seven games, were 94-67 this year after finishing 73-89 in 1986 and 1987.
Los Angeles is 1,022-874 in Lasorda’s 12 years as manager. He is third among active managers in victories behind Sparky Anderson of Detroit and Whitey Herzog of St. Louis and is 38th on the all-time list.
Lasorda has been with the Dodgers for 39 years--12 as manager, four as a coach, eight as a minor league manager, four as a scout and 11 as a player, primarily in the minor leagues.
Word circulated among baseball officials that Lasorda was upset in 1987 when Fred Claire was named general manager after Al Campanis was fired following remarks about blacks on national television. Lasorda said recently he had not wanted the job and on July 8 he signed a contract extension through the 1990 season.
In the glow of the World Series, any past problems were forgotten.
“This is an example to the whole world of what you can do if you really want it,” said Lasorda, who has led the Dodgers to four pennants and two World Series titles.
“This is the greatest accomplishment of them all. We didn’t have all the talent in the world, but we believed in ourselves. If you want somebody to be an inspiration to people who don’t believe in themselves then take a look at this ballclub.
“I can’t believe it happened--this is a dream team--a team of destiny. Nobody gave the Dodgers any chance in spring training. They said we couldn’t win the division and we couldn’t beat the Mets and we had too many injuries to beat the Athletics.”