Where Are the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers Now?
It’s hard to believe a time existed when the Dodgers weren’t the talk of Los Angeles, but that was the case in 1981. The Los Angeles Rams had appeared in their first Super Bowl in 1979, and the Lakers had won the NBA Finals in 1980, so the Dodgers were on the back burner in the city.
That changed with the arrival of Fernando Valenzuela as Fernandomania swept over Southern California. But the 1981 Dodgers were more than a star pitcher with an iconic nickname — they had a collection of veteran talent and young players who joined together to create a special season.
The Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in six games (after being down 2-0) to win the 1981 World Series and give manager Tommy Lasorda his first ring while being in charge. Lasorda is the only member of the team to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, so the squad defined the essence of "playing as a team."
Let's look back at the most notable Dodgers players from that 1981 season and see what they are doing today.
Position: Starting pitcher
MLB experience: 17 seasons (1980-91, 1993-97)
Years with Dodgers: 11 years (1980-90)
Career stats: 173-153 (.531), 3.54 ERA, 2,074 K, 113 CG, 31 SHO (shutouts)
1981 stats: 13-7 (.650), 2.48 ERA, 180 K, 11 CG, 8 SHO
1981 postseason stats: 3-1 (.750), 2.21 ERA, 26 K, 1 CG
The Dodgers player most people identify with that magical 1981 season is Fernando Valenzuela. "Fernandomania" swept over Los Angeles before Valenzuela became a national hero.
He was just a 20-year-old rookie in 1981, but the left-hander with a screwball looked like a seasoned vet as he won both the NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young award, becoming the first player in history to win both in the same season. He then went 3-1 in the postseason, including a complete game win over the Yankees in the World Series.
Valenzuela has spent the last 15 years working as a Dodgers broadcaster, first as a color commentator for the Spanish radio feed and currently on television for SportsNet LA. He still stays active with professional baseball in his native Mexico and has served on the coaching staff for Team Mexico at every World Baseball Classic.
In 2017, Valenzuela became owner of Tigres de Quintana Roo, a Triple-A team in the Mexican League.
Position: Starting pitcher
MLB experience: 22 seasons (1969-90)
Years with Dodgers: 9 years (1979-87)
Career stats: 220-191 (.535), 3.64 ERA, 1,907 K, 127 CG, 39 SHO
1981 stats: 10-4 (.714), 2.30 ERA, 51 K, 10, 6 SHO
1981 postseason stats: 2-2 (.500), 2.21 ERA, 17 K, 2 CG, 1 SHO
While Valenzuela was the Dodgers’ biggest name, veteran lefty Jerry Reuss may have been the team’s best pitcher. His 2.30 ERA in 1981 was the lowest of his 22 MLB seasons, and he posted the best win-loss percentage on the team.
Reuss wasn’t a flamethrower (he just 51 strikeouts on the year), but he knew how to rely on the stellar fielders behind him by keeping the ball in the park. He allowed just six home runs all season and then threw two complete games in the playoffs as he won the only World Series ring of his career.
When he’s not dropping by sports trade shows or various broadcast booths, Reuss enjoys telling stories about his 22-year pro career. He recently wrote his first book, "Bring In the Right-Hander!: My Twenty-Two Years in the Major Leagues," which is full of colorful stories and discusses his love of fungo bats.
A native of St. Louis, Reuss now lives in Las Vegas and calls occasional games for the Las Vegas Stars of the Pacific Coast League.
Position: Starting pitcher
MLB experience: 15 seasons (1971-85)
Years with Dodgers: 10 years (1975-84)
Career stats: 151-136 (.526), 3.38 ERA, 1,491 K, 86 CG, 29 SHO
1981 stats: 11-6 (.647), 2.28 ERA, 74 K, 5 CG, 4 SHO
1981 postseason stats: 4-1 (.800), 0.82 ERA, 12 K
The 1981 season was a dream season for "Happy" Hooton, who earned his sarcastic nickname because he rarely smiled. Hooton made the only All-Star game of his career in 1981 in addition to winning the NLCS MVP on the way to his only World Series victory.
After Hooton won the World Series clincher in Game 6 against the Yankees, Vin Scully played off Hooton’s nickname and unassuming personality by saying the veteran pitcher would probably go out and "paint the town beige."
At nearly 70 years old, Hooton still loves the game and is currently the pitching coach for the Fort Wayne TinCaps, a Single-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. He is invaluable to the team as he speaks fluent Spanish and, unlike MLB teams, minor league teams don’t have a full-time interpreter so his language skills are much needed. Hooton says he hasn’t been called "Happy" in years but describes himself as "easy-going, happy, and contented."
Position: Starting pitcher
MLB experience: 17 seasons (1978-94)
Years with Dodgers: 10 years (1978-87)
Career stats: 211-146 (.591), 3.47 ERA, 1,969 K, 61 CG, 28 SHO
1981 stats: 9-5 (.643), 3.44 ERA, 88 K, 2 CG, 1 SHO
1981 postseason stats: 0-0, 1 Save, 10.13 ERA, 3 K
The Dodgers used a four-man rotation, and Bob Welch was starter No. 4. While Valenzuela, Reuss and Hooton all posted ERAs below 2.50, Welch’s mark hovered near 3.50 as he regressed from his All-Star season the year before.
But he still had his moments, including throwing an 11-strikeout shutout against the Cubs and winning his last five starts of the year.
Twenty years after defeating the Yankees in the World Series as a player, Welch then beat the Yankees in the World Series as a coach on the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks. He held various other coaching jobs and was a pitching coach in the Oakland Athletics organization at the time of his death in 2014.
Welch died after falling at his home and suffering a hyperextended neck, which led to epidural hemorrhaging. He was 57 years old.
Position: Relief pitcher
MLB experience: 12 seasons (1980-83, 1985, 1987, 1991-96)
Years with Dodgers: 5 years (1980-83, 1985)
Career stats: 47-41 (.534), 91 saves, 3.03 ERA, 328 K
1981 stats: 5-3 (.625), 8 saves, 2.50 ERA, 32 K
1981 postseason stats: 1-0 (1.000), 1 Save, 2.45 ERA, 8 K
The southpaw was the team’s designated closer in the 1981 season even though the Dodgers used a committee and had three players with at least five saves.
Steve Howe was one of two lefties in the Dodgers’ bullpen, so his appearances were often matchup-based, but he got an extended run in the World Series. He threw three innings in Game 4 and collected the only win of his postseason career before throwing 3.2 innings in Game 6 and collecting the only save of his postseason career.
Despite his success on the field, Howe struggled just as much off it. He battled drug addiction throughout his career and was suspended the entire 1984 and 1986 seasons. The Rangers then released him for using alcohol in 1988 for violating terms of his drug-care program, and he didn’t pitch again until 1991.
He was suspended again in 1992 and banned for life, but an appeal overturned that ruling and he pitched for another couple of years.
Howe was working as a contractor in Arizona in 2006 when he was killed in a single-vehicle accident. His autopsy later revealed that he had meth in his system.
Position: Relief pitcher
MLB experience: 16 seasons (1978, 1981-95)
Years with Dodgers: 4 years (1978, 1981-83)
Career stats: 168-129 (.566), 19 Saves, 1,741 K, 55 CG, 9 SHO
1981 stats: 4-3 (.571), 6 Saves, 2.49 ERA, 29 K
1981 postseason stats: 0-2 (.000), 0 Saves, 11.57 ERA, 2 K
Dave Stewart came out of the bullpen and was part of the 1981 Dodgers’ closers-by-committee. The hard-throwing right-hander had to work his way into the closer’s role as Stewart didn’t get his first save of the season until mid-August, mainly being used as a setup man before that.
He also struggled in his first MLB postseason, going 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA across four games, but later in his career he became a workhorse starting pitcher and was a World Series MVP and two-time ALCS MVP.
Stewart has had many roles since retiring as a player. He’s served in the front office, worked as a coach and even started up a sports agency.
However, today he is putting all of his efforts toward bringing an MLB team to Nashville, Tenn. He is on the advisory board for a group hoping that Music City gets an expansion team if and when MLB decides to expand.
"There’s no doubt in my mind that a baseball team could work there," Stewart said of Nashville in 2019. "It’s just a matter of getting your pieces in place and hoping that at some point either through expansion or through a team moving that it’s the place that’s chosen."
Position: Relief pitcher
MLB experience: 18 seasons (1976, 1978-94)
Years with Dodgers: 5 years (1976, 1978-81)
Career stats: 171-139 (.552), 6 Saves, 4.08 ERA, 1,679 K
1981 stats: 2-2 (.500), 0 Saves, 4.02 ERA, 16 K
1981 postseason stats: Did not play
In 1979, Rick Sutcliffe was the NL Rookie of the Year after winning 17 games for the Dodgers. But just two years later, he was buried in the rotation, then demoted to the bullpen and rarely saw the mound.
One day, manager Tommy Lasorda promised him a start, then changed his mind, which led to a confrontation between player and manager.
"That's when I picked him up by his uniform collar," Sutcliffe said of Lasorda. "I wasn't exactly choking him, but I guess my hands were sort of around his neck — and I held him in the air and said ,'If you weren't 50 years old, I'd kick your ass.' "
After that, Sutcliffe wasn’t included on the Dodgers' 1981 postseason roster but was still awarded a World Series ring.
Sutcliffe went on to have a long and productive MLB career and has stayed in the spotlight ever since it ended. He is one of the longest-tenured color commentators for ESPN’s Major League Baseball broadcasts and has been employed by the company since 1998.
MLB experience: 13 seasons, all with Dodgers (1980-92)
Career stats: .259 AVG, 68 HR, 446 RBI, 29 SB
1981 stats: .276 AVG, 2 HR, 29 RBI
1981 postseason stats: .156 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Long before he became manager of Los Angeles' other MLB team, Mike Scioscia was Fernando Valenzuela’s personal catcher when Fernandomania took off. Valenzuela had difficulties communicating with catchers because he spoke very little English, so Scioscia made an effort to learn Spanish and eventually became the battery mate to Valenzuela.
Scioscia performed so well in his role as Valenzuela’s personal catcher, that he eventually was promoted to the Dodgers' full-time catching position ahead of 10-year veteran Steve Yeager.
After spending the past 39 years in Los Angeles as either a player, coach or manager for both the Dodgers and Angels, Scioscia retired after the 2018 season. He left his post as the Angels' manager, which was the longest tenure for any active MLB manager.
He was non-committal on if he would return to managing in the future, but he spoke like a former player after his last game.
"This game is not about the manager, GM or owner," Scioscia said. "The game is about the players, and it always will be. We had guys that just put it all on the line, whether we were going good or going bad. That's what I'm going to take away."
MLB experience: 15 seasons (1972-86)
Years with Dodgers: 14 years (1972-85)
Career stats: .228 AVG, 102 HR, 410 RBI, 14 SB
1981 stats: .209 AVG, 3 HR, 7 RBI
1981 postseason stats: .333 AVG, 2 HR, 4 RBI
A part-time starter at backstop for nine years with the Dodgers, Steve Yeager was usurped by a player 10 years younger than him, Mike Scioscia, for the starting job.
Yeager had a largely unproductive regular season in which he hit just three home runs and had 29 total bases. But he turned it on in October and hit two home runs in the World Series alone, including a game-winner in Game 5. For his efforts, Yeager was named co-MVP of the World Series along with Pedro Guerrero and Ron Cey.
Yeager never ventured far from his role as the Dodgers' catcher as he was recently the team’s "catcher’s coach" from 2012-18. It’s a unique position as most teams don’t have a catcher’s coach, and Yeager primarily assisted in pregame during Dodgers home games.
Yeager was not retained for the 2019 season, but he’s still busy in Los Angeles as he owns a Jersey Mike’s Subs location in Granada Hills.
Position: First base
MLB experience: 19 seasons (1969-87)
Years with Dodgers: 14 years (1969-82)
Career stats: .294 AVG, 272 HR, 1,308 RBI, 83 SB
1981 stats: .283 AVG, 10 HR, 64 RBI, 3 SB
1981 postseason stats: .359 AVG, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB
Steve Garvey was the team’s biggest star prior to Fernando Valenzuela’s arrival and was the Dodgers’ best player for most of his 14 years with the team.
1981 was the last of his eight All-Star selections in Dodgers’ blue as he posted the lowest OPS of his career since becoming a regular in 1973. But he came alive during the postseason and hit a blistering .359 over the 16 playoff games. His 23 hits over a single postseason was an MLB record that has since been surpassed nine times.
Garvey is currently a motivational speaker who also does VIP meet-and-greets and makes corporate appearances. This is similar to the role he had for 15 years with the Dodgers within their community affairs department before being fired in 2011 for comments about the team’s then-owner, Frank McCourt.
Garvey also is one of three former players on board of directors for the Baseball Assistance Team, a nonprofit organization that helps former MLB personnel in need of financial assistance. This work stems from Garvey’s own battles with debt stemming from child support fees, legal fees and alimony that emerged shortly after he retired.
Position: Second base
MLB experience: 16 seasons (1972-87)
Years with Dodgers: 10 years (1972-81)
Career stats: .263 AVG, 155 HR, 614 RBI, 557 SB
1981 stats: .206 AVG, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 20 SB
1981 postseason stats: .233 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 10 SB
The Dodgers' captain from 1978 to 1979, Davey Lopes was popular due his combination of power and speed despite standing 5 feet, 9 inches.
Lopes’ popularity was evident by him getting voted into the 1981 All-Star Game even though he hit just .169 at the time. While his bat fell asleep that season, his legs were just fine, and he stole 10 bases during the 1981 postseason. That was the most in MLB history at the time for a single postseason, and it still ranks as the third-most ever.
After 45 years as a player, coach or manager, Lopes stepped away from baseball prior to the 2018 season. He had been in MLB, one way or another, every year since making his debut as a September call-up in 1972.
"It was not a difficult decision to make, but one I was kind of hesitant to make," Lopes said on retiring. "But it all works out. I got the opportunity to play, manage or coach for a long, long time. I'm extremely thankful. I was one of the lucky ones in the big leagues for 45 straight years. That's a long time. I have no complaints."
Position: Second base
MLB experience: 14 seasons (1981-94)
Years with Dodgers: 8 years (1981-88)
Career stats: .281 AVG, 54 HR, 550 RBI, 444 SB
1981 stats: .277 AVG, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 5 SB
1981 postseason stats: .000 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB
Steve Sax won the 1982 AL Rookie of the Year award, but he made his debut during the 1981 season. He was called up after starting second baseman Davey Lopes suffered a groin injury and was placed on the disabled list.
Sax was billed for his tremendous speed, and he had that, although he wasn’t that efficient with his baserunning as he managed just five stolen bases versus seven caught stealing in 1981. He only received one plate appearance in the postseason, but he did his job in holding the fort at second base while Lopes recovered.
Sax currently works in the media as a member of SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. He hosts "MLB Roundtrip" on Friday nights during the MLB season, and the show recaps the day in baseball with highlights, interviews and analysis.
Before that, Sax returned to the Dodgers to work in their community relations team for a couple of seasons.
Position: Third base
MLB experience: 17 seasons (1971-87)
Years with Dodgers: 12 years (1971-81)
Career stats: .261 AVG, 316 HR, 1,139 RBI, 24 SB
1981 stats: .288 AVG, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 0 SB
1981 postseason stats: .316 AVG, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB
Ron Cey was another one of the postseason heroes in 1981 and ended up as one of the team’s three World Series MVPs. However, had the Dodgers not won their NLDS matchup with the Houston Astros, fans never would not have seen Cey suit up as a broken forearm knocked him out until the NLCS.
After missing five weeks due to the injury, Cey stepped right into Game 1 of the NLCS and collected two hits. After disposing of the Expos to advance to the World Series, the third baseman then hit .350 over the six-game World Series.
After his playing career ended with the Oakland Athletics in 1987, Cey returned to the Dodgers a couple of years later to work in their community relations department. He still takes part in many events featuring Dodgers alumni such as a 2018 Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway held at Dodger Stadium.
Cey also recently took part in the Dodgers Old-Timers Game where he, Steve Yeager and Pedro Guerrero were honored as co-MVPs from the 1981 World Series.
MLB experience: 18 seasons, all with Dodgers (1969-86)
Career stats: .263 AVG, 46 HR, 627 RBI, 167 SB
1981 stats: .233 AVG, 0 HR, 22 RBI, 2 SB
1981 postseason stats: .263 AVG, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB
The second-most famous athlete named Bill Russell, this one won 10 fewer championships than the Boston Celtics’ great. However, the baseball version was a staple up the middle for the Dodgers, even though his bat began to wane in his 30s.
Russell had no home runs and just 11 extra-base hits across nearly 300 plate appearances in the 1981 season. But he came through when it mattered most, and he had five hits across the three series-clinching games for the Dodgers in the postseason.
Russell has switched over to the other side, in a way, as he now works for MLB in their umpiring department. (That’s better than working for the Giants.) Russell works out of Los Angeles and is tasked with evaluating MLB umpires at Dodgers and Angels games. Russell reports to Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre and admits that he’s gained a new respect for the tough job that umpires have.
"You really get to see just how tough a job they have out there," Russell said. "It is something you come to appreciate."
Position: Left field
MLB experience: 19 seasons (1968-86)
Years with Dodgers: 8 years (1976-83)
Career stats: .278 AVG, 242 HR, 1,013 RBI, 137 SB
1981 stats: .320 AVG, 9 HR, 49 RBI, 10 SB
1981 postseason stats: .213 AVG, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB
Dusty Baker was the Dodgers’ most accomplished position player during the 1981 season. He was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and won a Silver Slugger award. He finished third in the NL with a .320 average and finished seventh in MVP voting.
Baker was particularly hot late in the season as he hit .341 after the All-Star break, but his bat turned quiet once the postseason rolled around as he hit just .213 in the playoffs. Still, Tommy Lasorda stuck with him, and he started and finished all 16 postseason games.
A true baseball lifer, Baker still is angling for a managerial position after being fired by the Washington Nationals in 2018. But he doubts he’ll get another shot due to what he calls "intellectual discrimination."
In the meantime, Baker has made a complete 180, career-wise, founding an energy solutions company called Baker Energy Team. It is a solar power startup that offers numerous services within lighting, roofing, wind power and HVAC.
"I figured if they don’t want me on their team, I’ll create my own," he says. "I can put a team together. That’s why I named it the Baker Energy Team."
Position: Center field
MLB experience: 11 seasons (1977-87)
Years with Dodgers: 7 years (1981-87)
Career stats: .268 AVG, 91 HR, 479 RBI, 145 SB
1981 stats: .251 AVG, 7 HR, 41 RBI, 18 SB
1981 postseason stats: .167 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB
Ken Landreaux was the lone newcomer for the 1981 Dodgers, the only starter who wasn’t on the team the previous season.
A native of Los Angeles, Landreaux returned home and slid right into the No. 2 spot in the batting order. He finished second on the team in runs scored and stolen bases, and he provided stellar defense in center field as he didn’t commit an error all year.
Landreaux also recorded the last out of the World Series, catching a fly ball off the bat of Bob Watson to give the Dodgers their first World Series victory since 1965.
Proving that it’s never too late to learn something new, Landreaux returned to school and got his degree from Arizona State one week shy of his 60th birthday in 2014. He had left the school in 1976 after being a first-round pick by the California Angels and returned to get his bachelor of liberal studies.
Afterward, Landreaux returned to Los Angeles and coached at MLB’s Urban Youth Academy in Compton.
Position: Right field
MLB experience: 15 seasons (1978-92)
Years with Dodgers: 11 years (1978-88)
Career stats: .300 AVG, 215 HR, 898 RBI, 97 SB
1981 stats: .300 AVG, 12 HR, 48 RBI, 5 SB
1981 postseason stats: .211 AVG, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB
The 1981 season was three different seasons for Pedro Guerrero. He hit .300 during the regular season, the second-highest mark on the team. But he then hit just .139 during the first two rounds of the postseason before rebounding with a .333 average during the World Series.
In Games 3-6 of the World Series, all Dodgers wins, Guerrero had 16 total bases and seven RBI. That performance propelled him to being named one of the World Series co-MVPs.
Guerrero’s playing career ended with him in the minors, which is where his coaching career began before heading down to the Mexican minor leagues.
He and his wife then moved to Queens, where Guerrero suffered a stroke in 2017. After initially believing he was brain dead, Guerrero was diagnosed as comatose, but he soon came out of it to recover.
"It is a miracle that Pedro is alive, completely conscious and speaking clearly two days after a doctor basically declared him brain dead," his wife, Roxanna Guerrero, told ESPN. "This is a miracle."
MLB experience: 19 seasons (1966-84)
Years with Dodgers: 8 years (1977-84)
Career stats: .264 AVG, 73 HR, 226 RBI, 8 SB
1981 stats: .315 AVG, 11 HR, 25 RBI, 1 SB
1981 postseason stats: .250 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB
A former two-time All-Star, the 35-year-old Rick Monday was the fourth outfielder for the Dodgers by the time 1981 rolled around. But despite being 10th on the team in at-bats, he finished third with 11 home runs, (more than he hit in the previous two seasons combined) and was the best hitter on the team, posting a 1.031 OPS.
His hot bat forced Lasorda to give him more playing time when the playoffs rolled around, and Monday started 11 of the 16 postseason games.
Monday headed to the broadcast booth after retiring in 1985, and he hasn’t left it since. He currently calls games for the Dodgers' radio broadcasts alongside veteran play-by-play man Charley Steiner.
2019 will be his 35th straight season in broadcasting, with four of those years spent with the Padres and the rest all being with the Dodgers.
Position: Pinch hitter
MLB experience: 17 seasons (1966-82)
Years with Dodgers: 6 years (1976-81)
Career stats: .287 AVG, 314 HR, 1092 RBI, 137 SB
1981 stats: .200 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB
1981 postseason stats: .500 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB
A seven-time All-Star, Reggie Smith was 36 years old in 1981, and his days as an everyday player were over. Thus, he became the Dodgers’ primary pinch hitter as 39 of his 41 appearances came in that role.
He struggled with the dramatic change and had just seven hits all season, five of which were singles. Perhaps the most notable thing Smith did all season was jump into the stands at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park to fight a fan. Smith was ejected from the game while the fan was arrested.
Smith currently resides in Los Angeles and serves as a consultant to major league teams and players.
He also trains players at all levels and certifies baseball coaches for various amateur baseball leagues and schools around the world.
The motion picture industry even has sought his expertise. The film "61*," which chronicled Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle’s quest to break Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record, utilized Smith as a consultant for many of their baseball scenes.
Position: Utility player
MLB experience: 15 seasons (1971-85)
Years with Dodgers: 5 years (1979-83)
Career stats: .249 AVG, 43 HR, 370 RBI, 140 SB
1981 stats: .248 AVG, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 7 SB
1981 postseason stats: .100 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB
There are utility men and then there are super-utility men, and Derrel Thomas falls into the latter category.
He played six different positions in 1981 and played in at least 10 games at four of those positions. Most of his playing time came as a middle infielder as Thomas always was available to give veterans Davey Lopes or Bill Russell a day off.
He also was one of many Los Angeles natives on the Dodgers who got to bring back the World Series championship to their hometown.
Thomas had some problems with substance abuse in retirement, but he has turned his life around and now inspires the youth. He founded the Derrel Thomas Foundation in Southern California, and its mission is to positively impact the lives of kids aged 8 to 18 through the tools of education, information and good sportsmanship.
MLB experience: 21 seasons, all with Dodgers (1976-96)
Career record: 1,599-1,439-2 (.526)
1981 record: 63-47 (.572)
1981 postseason record: 10-6 (.625)
It seems almost sacrilegious to think now, but approaching the 1981 season, some were calling for Tommy Lasorda’s job. He had made it to the World Series in each of his first two seasons, only to come up short, but had missed the playoffs entirely in the next two seasons.
But Lasorda saved his job and etched his legacy in Dodgers lore during the wacky 1981 season, which saw a midseason strike. That led to a convoluted playoff format in which the NL team with the best record, the Cincinnati Reds, didn’t make the playoffs.
Lasorda’s bunch did, however, and despite trailing in all three of their playoff series, the Dodgers defeated the Yankees 4-2 in the World Series to give Lasorda his first ring as a manager.
Lasorda retired from managing in 1996, but he never retired from the Dodgers or from baseball. He currently is a special adviser to Dodgers chairman Mark Walter and is in his 12th year in that role. His role includes evaluating minor league players as well as acting as an ambassador for the club.
At 91 years old, Lasorda is the oldest living Baseball Hall of Famer and has no plans to retire.
"Hey, I'll never retire," said Lasorda. "The Dodgers still pay me. It's good money."