Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda of the Dodgers spoke at a St. Louis Browns luncheon here Friday, attended by ex-Brownies.

Lasorda, originally a Brooklyn Dodgers farmhand, recalled how he was almost in the Browns' rotation and, in fact, trained with them in San Bernadino, Calif., in 1953, the Browns' last season.

"I'd had a good spring," said Lasorda, "and we're on the train going from San Bernadino to Phoenix and I go to the dining car and (coaches) Harry Brecheen and Joe Schultz tell me I'm going to be one of the starters. I'm thinking, 'That's great.' We get off the train in Phoenix and then there's (owner) Bill Veeck waiting for us. He hadn't been with us all spring. I put my uniform on and the phone rings and (manager) Marty Marion wants me to come up to his room.

"When I got there, Bill Veeck was there. He said, 'I feel bad, Tommy.' I bought you for $50,000. ... but I can't pay the Dodgers."

So Lasorda went back to the Dodgers' system and, though still a promising lefthander, never won a game for the Dodgers in the big leagues (he was 0-4 for Kansas City in 1956).

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