Saturday, May 28, 2022 |
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Hall of Famer to speak at Kilohana lu‘au tonight
by Dennis Fujimoto – The Garden Island
PO‘IPU — Young people need a chance, said baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda.
“What we’re doing is giving some kids a chance,” Lasorda told Jose Aguayo, sales manager for King Auto Center. “That’s giving back. When you give someone a chance at life, you can feel good about it.”
Lasorda will be the keynote speaker at a function coordinated by Leadership Kaua‘i tonight at the Kilohana Carriage House.
Ron Kouchi, one of the coordinators for Lasorda’s visit to Kaua‘i, said the former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers is just one in a series of motivational speakers being brought in by Leadership Kaua‘i.
“Leadership Kaua‘i continues to bring in motivational speakers for not only the business people, but also for the young people on the island,” Kouchi said.
Tickets for tonight’s lu‘au at Kilohana are still available at the door, Kouchi said.
“When I checked with the students at the high schools, the tickets were selling pretty good,” said Mason Chock, director for Leadership Kaua‘i. “But we still have about 150 tickets available for people who want to come. They can buy the tickets at the door.”
Ticket prices are $30 per person and includes the luau as well as Lasorda’s presentation.
Kouchi said the tickets were distributed to students playing baseball at Kaua‘i’s high schools and based on how many have been sold, there is a possibility Leadership Kaua‘i will be making presentations back to the school to benefit the student athletes.
Lasorda, who received an honorary PhD degree from the University of Hawai‘i during a presentation at a baseball event there, spent the afternoon chatting with Aguayo, Mary Bea Porter King, Kouchi, and several of the business leaders in the community.
He claims that he is only one of two people who have asteroids named after them.
“That’s according to the Cal Tech folks,” Lasorda said. “One is me, the other is named after Walter Cronkite. It used to be known as IA35-something, but now it’s actually called the ‘Tommy Lasorda asteroid.’”
Lasorda, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, said one of the worst things he remembers took place while he was in spring training.
Ronald Reagan was the president, and Lasorda received a phone call from Washington, D.C. to give a speech in a tribute to Reagan with whom Lasorda was friends.
“When I got there, there were 3,000 people including 37 U.S. senators,” Lasorda said. “I found out there were two speakers — me and Margaret Thatcher.”
Lasorda said Thatcher, who was also known as The Iron Lady, spoke first.
“She got three standing ovations during her speech,” Lasorda said. “And I gotta follow that?”
Lasorda said his introduction took only 40 seconds, and when he started to speak, he relayed the saga about how he had to write the best speech of his life.
“I stayed up until 3 a.m.,” Lasorda said. “When it was done, I told myself, ‘This is the best speech I’ve written.’ But I lost the speech and Thatcher found it.”
Lasorda said he’s had experiences of dining with presidents, getting a hug from a president and speaking with a presidential candidate, all in the same day.
“These are just some of the memories between 16 and 80,” Lasorda said. “It’s been a tremendous journey.”
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