Lasorda's Dodgers won four pennants and two world championships, including one in 1988 against the Oakland A's that stands as his most masterly achievement. In Game 1 of the World Series, Lasorda used eight players in the number 9 spot in his order, the last of them an injured Kirk Gibson, who hit a game-winning homer. In Game 5 Oakland started Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Dave Parker and Mark McGwire in the two through five spots. By contrast, the meat of Lasorda's lineup was Franklin Stubbs, Mickey Hatcher, Mike Marshall and John Shelby. The Dodgers won that deciding game 5-2.
More recently, Lasorda's dugout acumen seemed to wane. His teams were 321-337 in the past five seasons. Last year he was even caught napping on the bench. He was so loved, though, that he was never booed in his home park, a remarkable feat for a manager over any stretch of time. That is his legacy, as well. It turns out baseball was embracing him all these years too.
Most every athlete in Atlanta has a story to tell of an injury or setback that he or she has overcome. U.S. kayaker Cliff Meidl's story might top them all. Ten years ago Meidl, then 20, was working as an apprentice plumber in Redondo Beach, Calif., when the jackhammer he was operating struck three live power lines. Here's Meidl's deadpan description, delivered at a press conference at the start of the Games, of what happened after 30,000 volts of electricity coursed through his body for 30 seconds.
"I didn't remember a lot because I had three cardiac arrests. I woke up 14 hours later in the hospital. I was fighting for my life the first couple of days. Two toes were blown off. A third of my knee joints were burned away. A shoulder blade exploded. Part of the back of my head was blown off. I faced amputation of my legs below the knees, but they removed a calf muscle from one leg and moved it to my knees."
Introduced to canoeing as part of his recover•' regimen, Meidl, a former soccer player and cross-country runner, turned to kayak racing in 1993. He is scheduled to compete in Atlanta in the four-man 1,000-meter event, in which the American boat had a shot to make the final. After what happened to Meidl, nothing would be a shock.