LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Dodgers Hall of Fame great Tommy Lasorda is dead, the team announced. He was 93 years old.
The Dodgers confirmed that Lasorda died Thursday night after suffering a heart attack.
Tommy Lasorda watches the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on the 12th. May 1996 in St. John’s Louis. (Getty Images)
Lasorda had a sudden cardiac arrest at home at 10:09 p.m., according to the team. He was taken to the hospital where resuscitation efforts were made. He was pronounced dead at 10:57 pm.
In a statement, the team described Lasorda, who spent an incredible 71 years with the Dodgers organization, as one of the most memorable figures in baseball history.
Lasorda’s praise is stunning. He led the Dodgers for 21 seasons from 1976 to 1996. He won two world championship titles in 1981 and 1988 and had 1,599 wins as manager, the 22nd of his career.
PHOTO GALLERY : When I think back to Tommy Lasorda…
There are two things I will always remember about Tommy, Vin Scully, the Dodgers’ replacement, told Titan in a statement. The first is his boundless enthusiasm. Tommy would wake up in the morning full of beans and ask as long as he was with someone else.
Tommy Lasorda at spring training in Dodgertown, Vero Beach, February 1982. (Getty Images)
The other is his determination. He was a man of limited ability, and he tried to be a very good Triple-A pitcher. He’s never had anything that makes him a big bad guy, but it’s not because he doesn’t try. Here are some of the elements: his fighting spirit, his determination, and most of all, his boundless energy and self-confidence. His heart was bigger than his talent and his enthusiasm had no limits.
The Dodgers told CBSLA that Lasorda’s number two in center field would be removed. The flowers are placed under the huge n°2 of the upper deck, in the right field.
Lasorda was admitted to an Orange County hospital in November with an undisclosed illness. He was hospitalized for six weeks before returning home in early January.
I have sat next to Tommy at every Dodger game for the past eight years and he has taught me invaluable lessons about baseball strategy and history, tweeted the great Magic Johnson of the Lakers.
Dodgers Hall of Fame manager, LA icon and my good friend Tommy Lasorda passed away last night. I’ve sat next to Tommy at every Dodger game for the past 8 years, and he’s given me invaluable lessons in baseball strategy and history pic.twitter.com/6RxmoQ7Che
– Erwin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 8, 2021
By the end of October, he was at number 6. World Series victory for the Dodgers in Arlington, Texas, as the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tommy Lasorda was one of the best managers in our game, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. He loved life as a Dodger.
It’s fitting that in recent months he has seen his beloved Dodgers win the World Series for the first time since his 1988 team, Manfred added.
Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda and players celebrate on the field after defeating the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the NLDS on the 11th. October 1981 at Dodger Stadium. (Getty Images)
At the age of 93, he was known for his enthusiasm for baseball and the Dodgers in particular. Lasorda found his way as a manager after a disappointing 14 years as a pitcher in the minors.
In three Major Leagues, Lasorda went 0-4 with an ERA of nearly 6.5 against Kansas City and the Brooklyn Dodgers, who let him go to make room for Sandy Koufax.
A true student of the game, Lasorda turned to coaching after his playing career. In 1972, he became a director of the Triple-A Dodgers Agricultural Club in Albuquerque.
He won the Pacific Coast championship during his long season in the region and led Lasorda to the big leagues, where he joined Walter Alston’s team before replacing the long-serving manager in 1979.
Lasorda has become the leader and voice of the team. Under Lasorda’s leadership, the Dodgers competed in the first two seasons of the World Series, but failed to beat the New York Yankees in 1977 and 1978.
But things really took off in 1981 when the Dodgers beat the Bronx in six games. And then there was the magical 1988 season – Lasorda’s greatest success, even though most people thought his team was ill-prepared for the postseason.
Vin Scully and Tommy Lasorda attend the Los Angeles Dodger Awards for Outstanding Achievement on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on the 20th. June 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Getty Images)
After beating the New York Mets in the National League championship series, the Dodgers were serious underdogs against Oakland. Olympian Kirk Gibson took over in the first game and made history.
Lasorda remained at the helm until the middle of the 1996 season, when heart problems forced him to give up the job he loved.
Lasorda retired the side with a slim 1,600 win lead and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. That year, the Dodgers made sure no one ever wore the number two Lasorda and retired along with the other great Dodgers.
Lasorda returned to leadership in 2000, this time for Team USA at the Sydney Olympics, and as expected he answered his country’s call, leading Team USA just three days before his 73rd birthday. Anniversary of the gold medal.
Lasorda worked for the Dodger organization in the 1990s as a scout, then as a special advisor and ambassador for the game he loved and the team that loved him so much.
Lasorda is survived by his wife Joe, daughter Laura and granddaughter Emily Tess.
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