Tommy Lasorda field unveiled in Tollo, Italy

Tommy Lasorda field unveiled in Tollo, Italy
Tollo Baseball and Softball unveiled Tommy Lasorda field in honor of the late and great National Baseball Hall of Fame Manager and Los Angeles Dodger Italian American icon on Saturday, May 7, 2022

It was a weekend of smiles, emotions and memories last weekend in Tollo, Italy for Laura Lasorda, daughter of Tommy and Jo Lasorda. Accompanied with an entourage of friends and family, Laura Lasorda visited Tollo tracing the ancestral roots of her grandfather Sabatino Lasorda, who left this small town known for its fine Abruzzese cuisine and wine in the province of Chieti to look for a better life in the United States.

WIth Laura Lasorda and Sister City ambassador Roberto Angotti serving as witnesses inside Tollo City Hall, Tollo Mayor Angelo Radica signed the official Sister City agreement with Fullerton, California on Saturday morning, May 7, 2022 in honor of Tommy Lasorda and his parents, Sabatino and Carmella Lasorda. Fullerton celebrated its inaugural "Tommy Lasorda Day" on September 22, 2021, when Mayor Bruce Whitaker officially signed the Sister City covenant.

Despite the afternoon rain, Tollo Mayor Angelo Radica and Laura Lasorda cut the ceremonial ribbon to the new baseball and softball field named after Tommy Lasorda, whose eternal smile stands out in the large mural depicting him created by artist Antonello 'Macs' Piccinino. The unsung hero in preparing the diamond for this special occasion was Alessandro Flisi of Flisi Field, who spent countless hours away from his family in Parma during the Easter holiday to make sure Tommy Lasorda field was completed in time for the unveiling.

Poste Italiane got the party started when revealing a specially-designed one-day postage stamp seal commemorating Tommy Lasorda Day at the diamond before Lasorda t-shirts, hats and cake were distributed to all those in attendance. Celebrants were treated to a series of emotionally-driven speeches during the festivities.

Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball (FIBS) President Andrea Marcon thanked everyone, especially the young Tollo baseball players in uniforn. He said, "Stories and examples such as those of Jackie Robinson and Tommy Lasorda must serve to remind us how important sport is in social life and how it is the duty of those who practice it, at every level, to feel this personal responsibility. The exceptional example given by these baseball men, like Tommy, in contributing to the integration of the Italians 100 years ago in a world completely different than their own culture and language is paramount. Italian immigrants arrived in America with only the clothes on their back. We must remember today these stories of their resiliency to perservere against all odds and their ability to carry on with the Italian customs, traditions, and work ethic transcends sports."

Laura Lasorda said, "The first feeling I feel, being here with you is that of gratitude for having given me and my family, the one who is here with me and the one who looks at us from heaven, this beautiful moment. Returning to the homeland of my grandparents is a bit like closing the circle and makes me understand how it is from here that the values ​​that my father passed on to us and that his parents passed on to him originate. I am sure that from today, in my father's name, the people who will be able to make an important contribution to the growth of baseball, not only here, but in Italy, have come together."

Tollo Mayor Angelo Radica said, “Today is a historic day for Tollo. I would say the second most important ever after the one in which Tommy Lasorda visited us. This field is our commitment, not only by the Tollo City Administration, but it is also our commitment to Tollo Baseball and Softball. The promise and commitment we make today is to make it live through the activity of many boys and girls. Finally, the dream of those who started their passion for baseball over 40 years ago on the occasion of Tommy Lasorda's visit has come true and young people can play and grow on a field dedicated to them. I want to thank all those who contributed to the realization of the project. I would like to mention the City Council who understood and supported it, the Councilor of the Abruzzo Region Silvio Paolucci, who gave us an important hand in overcoming some difficult moments, and Tollo Baseball and Softball President Ezio Della Nebbia and coach Graziano Primavera, both of whom worked very hard to make our dream came true."

Forza #Italia!

by Marco Landi and Roberto Angotti

Read more: Tollo hosts Sister City Celebration with Fullerton in honor of Tommy Lasorda and Tollo and Fullerton sign Sister City agreement in honor of Lasorda family

(Photo of Laura Lasorda and Tollo Mayor Angelo Radica in front of artist Antonello 'Macs' Piccinino's mural of Tommy Lasorda by Marco Landi)