Tuesday presented some sobering medical news involving two popular sports personalities – one prominently known in Philadelphia, and one who hails from the Philadelphia area, but is well-known to baseball followers across the country.
Tommy Lasorda, a native of the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown, suffered a heart attack on Monday in New York City. Appearing in the World Series four times during his 20-year reign as the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, he currently serves as an advisor to the team. He was in town for the 2012 MLB draft when he fell ill and was hospitalized. The team subsequently released a statement saying the Hall of Fame manager, 84, had a stent inserted to fix a blocked artery. He’s reported to be resting comfortably. Ironically, a heart attack led to Lasorda abruptly retiring as Dodgers manager in July 1996; he had gone to the hospital citing abdominal pain which, unbeknownst to him, was actually a heart attack.
Among Lasorda’s sports media credits are roles as a commentator on “This Week In Baseball” in 1997, and as a correspondent for the Los Angeles-based “Jim Rome Is Burning” program in 2009. He also starred in the early-80’s baseball sketch comedy show geared toward children, “The Baseball Bunch.”
Meanwhile, Angelo Cataldi, who has practically been the morning host on WIP for as long as it’s been a sports radio station (we’re talking way before its migration to the FM dial last year), was MIA on Monday, and ended up calling into his own show that day – live from a hospital in South Jersey – to share his own medical predicament with his audience: he’s suffering from diverticulitis, a digestive disease usually affecting the large intestine or the colon. Under doctor’s orders, he is to remain off the air for practically the entire month of June, as he is scheduled to undergo surgery on Thursday. Cataldi’s wife, Gail, told the Philadelphia Daily News that her husband, a known “embellisher,” was “really sick” to the point that he could not make it into work to talk about Eagles training camp, or the Phillies’ two-game slide at that point. (Ironically, the Phillies are currently playing the aforementioned Lasorda’s Dodgers.)
As Cataldi, 61, recuperates from surgery, WIP late-night host and throat cancer survivor Big Daddy Graham will sub for him in morning drive.
A speedy recovery to both the godfather of Philadelphia sports radio and the godfather of late-20th century baseball.