Jan. 8 (UPI) — Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda has died. He was 93.
The Dodgers said Lasorda died after he sustained a sudden cardiopulmonary (cardiac) arrest at 7:09 p.m. PST Thursday at his home in Southern California. He was transported to a local hospital to be resuscitated, but was pronounced dead at 10:57 p.m. PST.
“Tommy Lasorda was one of the finest managers our game has ever known,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
“He loved life as a Dodger. His career began as a pitcher in 1949, but he is, of course, best known as the manager of two World Series champions and four pennant-winning clubs.
“His passion, success, charisma and sense of humor turned him into an international celebrity, a stature that he used to grow our sport. Tommy welcomed Dodger players from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere — making baseball a stronger, more diverse and better game.”
Lasorda had a brief pitching career for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Kansas City Athletics in the 1950s. He later worked as a scout and Minor League Baseball manager and became the Dodgers’ third base coach in 1973.
He was hired as Dodgers manager in 1976. Lasorda’s teams won World Series titles in 1981 and 1988.
He had a 1,599-1,439 record in 21 seasons as Dodgers manager. He retired during the 1996 campaign after he had a heart attack. He won four National League pennants and was a two-time Manager of the Year.
Lasorda was enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
He went on to serve as a Dodgers team executive and also managed the United States Olympic baseball team to a gold medal in 2000.
Lasorda spent the last two decades as a special adviser to the Dodgers’ chairman.
“I am extremely fortunate to have developed a wonderful friendship with Tommy and will miss him,” commissioner Manfred said.
“It feels appropriate that in his final months, he saw his beloved Dodgers win the World Series for the first time since his 1988 team.”
Lasorda had been hospitalized several times because of heart issues over the last several years. His latest hospitalization came in November, before he was released Tuesday.
Lasorda is survived by his wife of 70 years, Jo, daughter Laura and granddaughter Emily Tess.
“Tommy Lasorda enjoyed a remarkable life in baseball,” said Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark. “His legacy will be one of determination, leadership, and perseverance.
“Those wonderful characteristics that he carried, not only through his career, but throughout his life, and his passion for the game and for the Hall of Fame, will be greatly missed in Cooperstown.”