Tommy Lasorda, the legendary former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will have his name stamped on Penn Baseball—literally.
In late July, Penn Athletics announced a gift of more than $2 million from Warren Lichtenstein C’87 to help fund upgrades at the home of the Quakers’ baseball program, which will be named Tommy Lasorda Field at Meiklejohn Stadium once the first phase of the renovation is complete.
Lasorda—a Baseball Hall of Famer from Norristown, Pennsylvania—won two World Series titles while managing the Dodgers and is very friendly with Lichtenstein, the founder and executive chairman of Steel Partners Holdings L.P., a global diversified holding company. In a statement, Lichtenstein said that “Tommy and the Lasorda family have meant so much and done so much for Norristown and the state of Pennsylvania that it is only fitting to name Penn’s baseball field after him.”
Through a portion of his gift, Lichtenstein will match dollar-for-dollar any contribution to the stadium project up to $2,050,000, creating the $4,100,000 necessary to complete Phase 1 of the renovations—which, according to athletic director Grace Calhoun, will “include artificial turf and enhance the student-athlete and fan experience in a number of ways to help us compete for Ivy League championships.” Among the other upgrades planned for Meiklejohn Stadium are renovated dugouts, a reorientation of the field, updated protective netting, and a permanent restroom facility.
Though he doesn’t have a true connection to Penn, Lasorda was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945, before reaching the big leagues as a pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. At 92, he’s currently the oldest living Baseball Hall of Famer and has been part of the Dodgers organization in some capacity for more than 70 years.
“I am honored to have a baseball field named after me in my home state of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania,” said Lasorda, who resides in Fullerton, California, with his wife of 70 years. “I am most thankful to my great friend, Warren Lichtenstein, and everyone at the University of Pennsylvania, for this unbelievable tribute and honor.”