In wake of Tommy Lasorda’s recent passing, Dodger historian Mark Langill likes to tell the story about how one of the finest baseball players to come out of South Pasadena High wound up playing professionally in Los Angeles.
Lasorda, as explained by Langill, was driving to Dodger Stadium one day when a parking lot attendant stopped him because the Angels were playing the same day (the Angels called Chavez Ravine home from 1962 to 1965).
Launching his career with the organization in the days prior to managing the team to a pair of world championships, Lasorda served as a Dodger scout and wanted to go to his office. “The attendant said he’d let him in the parking lot if he watched his friend play,” recalls Langill, a South Pasadena resident, laughing at the thought.
Lasorda quickly discovered the friend was Tommy Hutton, a left-handed first baseman from South Pasadena High School.
Impressed after watching the young prospect on the field, the Dodger scout zeroed in on Hutton, soon after visiting his home on Lyndon Street, right here in town, to find out the Boston Red Sox were already offering $10,000 to sign the talented player.
Lasorda countered with an $8,000 offer, telling Hutton family members, “It will cost you $2,000 to have your son playing just a few minutes away from the 110 Freeway in the most beautiful ballpark in baseball.”
Hutton was sold, relishing the opportunity to play close to home, opting for the $8,000 deal. He would spend more than 50 years in the game as a player and broadcaster.
With a career batting average of .248, including 22 home runs and 186 runs batted in, Hutton played in the major leagues with the Dodgers in 1966 and 1969, the Philadelphia Phillies, from 1972 to 1977 -– appearing in the 1976 and 1977 National League Championship Series –- the Toronto Blue Jays in 1978, and with the Montreal Expos at the end of the 1978 season until his final game on September 3, 1981.
Following his career on the field, Hutton moved into broadcasting and worked as a color commentator with ESPN, the Montreal Expos (1985-1986), New York Yankees (1997-1989), and Toronto Blue Jays (1990-1996), before retiring in 2015 after calling the action for the Miami Marlins for 19 seasons.
Today, Hutton and his wife, Debby, both avid runners who have competed in the Boston Marathon, make their home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.