November 23, 2014

Arcadia Native Mark Loretta Hangs It Up

So as has been widely reported over the past day or so, former Dodger (and Arcadia Little League hero) and 15-year MLB veteran Mark Loretta has decided to retire.

Loretta hit .295 for his career and Dodger fans will not soon forget his heroics in the 2009 NLCS when he had “The Loretta Looper” – that breath-taking, game-winning walk-off single during Game 2 against the Phillies.

And if you’re interested in reading about Mark’s days playing for the Live Oaks Bike Shop in the Arcadia Little League, here are my buddy Don’s recollections of being his teammate.

Mark’s next move will be to the front office as a special assistant to the San Diego Padres’ baseball operations staff.  Loretta has always been widely admired for his baseball intellect, so this should be a fantastic move for him.  Good luck, Mark!

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Mark Loretta: Arcadia Little League Superstar

The Loretta Looper

Being a Dodger blogger, I obviously love to talk about the team and I really love to hear stories that speak to the character of Dodger players.  An old college friend of mine, Don, recently shared the following Little League anecdote about former Dodger (and NLDS hero) Mark Loretta with me, and he’s given me permission to post it here.

Loretta has always had the reputation of being a good guy, and it’s good to see that he’s apparently been this way since he was a kid:

“Loretta was my childhood hero! We all idolized him because he was the best at every sport. At recess in school, he was always the first guy picked when we picked teams. In fact, I was a big Dallas Cowboys fan because he was, and I wanted to be just like him. Anyway, we were teammates on the fearsome Arcadia Little League juggernaut, the Live Oak Bike Shop! I played 3B and 2B, and Mark was the shortstop. I also went to several Dodger games with Mark. In fact, he took me to a 1978 playoff game against the Phillies. It makes me very proud to see him in Dodger Blue.

In 1993, I ran into our old little league coach, Bob Fickas. He said to me, “Don! I talk about you all the time! I still coach, and I always tell my team about the best player I ever coached!” I replied, “Well if you do that, then you tell them about Mark Loretta.” He was so much better than the rest of us, it wasn’t even funny. We all knew that if any of us had a chance to play in MLB, it would be him. He was also a great guy. Very mature for his age, precociously intelligent, humble, and very, very nice.”

Regardless of whether or not Ned decides to bring Mark Loretta back for another year, it’s good to see that he’s going after players of character that truly want to be part of the Dodger organization.

The Loretta Looper: Don’t Stop Believin’, Dodger Fans!

The Loretta Looper

The Loretta Looper

The Dodgers won 12 games during their last at bat during the season, but none was as electrifying, exciting or as improbable as the way the Dodgers won Game 2 of the NLDS this evening against the St. Louis Cardinals.  I’m calling it the Loretta Looper.

Once Holliday dropped Loney’s drive to left field with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the door opened for the Dodgers.  Mark Loretta told Josh Suchon on the KABC Dodgers Post-Game Show the team was just trying to string together a few hits.  And then Torre tapped Loretta to step up to the plate.  On an 0-1 count, Mark Loretta hits a loop shot off Ryan Franklin into left-center field.  “It’s the biggest hit of my career for sure…it was electrifying,” said Loretta (to Suchon).

What a finish.  Now, it’s on to Game 3 in St. Louis.  It’s hard to imagine things getting more exciting than this, but the Dodgers are clearly in the driver’s seat for the NLDS.  Is it Saturday yet?

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill