The stretch of the 5 Freeway where Tommy Lasorda started his trips to Dodger Stadium and exited after games now bears his name.
Twenty-seven miles southeast of what Lasorda called “Blue Heaven on Earth” is the “Tommy Lasorda Dodger Legend Memorial Highway.”
The pair of green highway signs are already up on the 5 Freeway in Fullerton, near the former Dodgers manager’s longtime home. The signs are on the northbound and southbound lanes between Lincoln Avenue and Ball Road.
On Saturday, the late Lasorda will be recognized during a ceremony featuring his daughter, Laura, former Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros, the 1992 National League Rookie of the Year under Lasorda, and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silver (D-Fullerton). The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. and is part of the West Fullerton Little League opening day festivities at James Carter Field at 1015 West Hill Ave. in Fullerton.
Lasorda had been a supporter and benefactor of the West Fullerton Little League and the surrounding parks.
The ceremony marks the culmination of ACR 67, a bill sponsored by Quirk-Silva and co-authored by Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) in 2021 to memorialize Lasorda, who had lived in Fullerton since 1958. The legislation was written shortly after Lasorda’s death in January 2021 from sudden cardiopulmonary arrest. He was 93.
Even though Lasorda was born in Norristown, Pa., Quirk-Silver said many in Fullerton considered the onetime Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher “a hometown hero.”
“We remember Tommy as a man of the community,” Quirk-Silver said. “There was a good possibility you would see him in town, probably picking up a pizza at Giovanni’s.”
In 1976, Lasorda spoke at Nicolas Junior High School in Fullerton and donated dozens of tickets to his friend, instructor Jim Schlotthauer. The social science and speech teacher, who taught at the school from 1960 to 2004, in turn invited a group of six students to an upcoming game.
One of those students was Quirk-Silver, who enjoyed views of Dodgers heartthrob Steve Garvey and her first Dodger Dog in her inaugural visit to the stadium.
Quirk-Silver said she was “forever grateful” for the experience, which endeared her to the manager.
The honors are one of many Fullerton has bestowed on Lasorda and his family.
The Fullerton Museum just concluded a three-month exhibit on Dec. 31 titled “Picturing America’s Pastime,” with a section dedicated to Lasorda.
The city has also hosted consecutive street festivals in 2021 and 2022, honoring Lasorda on his birthday in September.
The Dodgers are providing some of the funding for the signs.
“Fullerton held a very special place in Tommy’s heart, and we know how proud he would be to be standing here today,” Stan Kasten, president and CEO of the Dodgers, said in a statement.
Lasorda guided the Dodgers to World Series titles in 1981 and 1988, four National League pennants, eight division titles and 1,599 victories.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.