The sports world lost a legendary figure with the passing of Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda this week. He guided the Los Angeles Dodgers, with whom he spent a total of 71 years, to two World Series championships, four National League pennants and eight division titles while winning 1,599 games.
And the loss hits home for Detroit Tigers manager Al Avila and his son, former Tigers catcher Alex Avila.
Lasorda was the younger Avila’s godfather, and he shared a touching story of when Lasorda attended his Little League game in South Florida several years before he’d break into the Majors:
“That was a real thrill,” Avila explained. “All the kids on the team were excited, all the parents obviously were thrilled and they got a kick out of it.
“In the middle of the game, I remember this: I’d always look into the stands to see if he was watching, and there were always people around him. But every time I’d come up, he would make sure to stop signing autographs, stop talking to people, to watch me hit.
“For me, it was like the coolest thing ever.”
Watch the full interview below:
"Sure enough he spent the whole day signing autographs, but at the same time, every time I came up to bat he made sure he made everyone stop so he could watch me hit."
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 9, 2021