In sad news, the Dodgers announced this morning that Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda passed away last night. He was 93 years old.
“In a franchise that has celebrated such great legends of the game, no one who wore the uniform embodied the Dodger spirit as much as Tommy Lasorda,” president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement. “A tireless spokesman for baseball, his dedication to the sport and the team he loved was unmatched. He was a champion who at critical moments seemingly willed his teams to victory. The Dodgers and their fans will miss him terribly. Tommy is quite simply irreplaceable and unforgettable.”
A franchise icon, Lasorda began a brief playing career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. While he didn’t find much success as an MLB player, that experience kicked off an association with the Dodger organization that would last 71 years. After his playing career ended, Lasorda served as a scout and manager in the Dodgers’ farm system. He became a member of the MLB coaching staff in 1973 and took over as manager near the end of the 1976 season.
That began one of the most decorated managerial careers in MLB history. Lasorda immediately led the Dodgers to back-to-back pennants in 1977-78. Both those teams lost to the Yankees in the World Series, but Lasorda would guide the Dodgers to a pair of championships in the following decade (in 1981 and 1988). He remained the Los Angeles skipper for an incredible twenty seasons, before stepping aside midway through the 1996 campaign due to health concerns. Even after Lasorda’s managerial tenure ended, he remained inextricably linked with the organization. As the Dodgers note in their press release, he had spent the past fourteen years as a special advisor.
Lasorda also managed the Gold Medal-winning 2000 United States Olympic team in Sydney. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. MLBTR joins the Dodgers in sending our condolences to Lasorda’s family and countless friends and fans throughout the sport.