LOS ANGELES—“Cut my veins, and I bleed Dodger blue. If trouble comes, I pray to that big Dodger in the sky,” said Hall of Fame and long time Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager, Tommy Lasorda. Lasorda passed away on Thursday, January 7 at the age of 93 from a cardiopulmonary arrest (heart attack). He died at his home in Fullerton and was pronounced dead at 10:57 pm, according to his team.
Born September 22, 1927 in Norristown, PA, Lasorda begun his baseball career in 1945 with the Philadelphia Phillies and in 1976 took over as the Dodgers manager from retiring Walter Alston. Shortly after, he led the Dodgers to the World Series in 1981 and 1988. After a heart attack in 1996, he retired. In 1997, Lasorda became the vice president of the Los Angeles Dodgers and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was responsible for the U.S. being victorious in golf during the 2000 Olympics.
Lasorda made an irreversible impact on the Dodgers because of his recruitment of rookies, his statistics during his 21 seasons as manager, but according to the Dodgers was also due to his colorful and helpful attitude in and off the field.
“He was a great ambassador for the team and baseball, a mentor to players and coaches, he always had time for an autograph and a story for his many fans and he was a good friend. He will be dearly missed,” said Los Angeles Dodgers owner and Chairman, Mark Walter in a press release.
“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…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,” said Dodger president and CEO Stan Katsen.
Lasorda is survived by his wife of 70 years, Jo, their daughter, Laura, and granddaughter Emily.