LOS ANGELES : Tommy Lasorda, the colorful and cantankerous longtime manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers who led the team to four National League pennants and two World Series championships in the 1970s and ‘80s, has died. He was 93.
Lasorda, who spent more than 70 years in the Dodgers organization, suffered a sudden cardiopulmonary arrest at home Thursday night and was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later, the team said in a statement on Friday.
“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,” Dodgers chief executive Stan Kasten said in a news release.
“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.”
Lasorda’s connection with the Dodgers dated back to 1949, when he was drafted as a pitcher while the storied National League club was still based in New York City’s Brooklyn borough.
But Lasorda’s tenure in the dugouts far outshone his playing career and he eventually became one of the team’s most enduring and widely recognized figures.
“Tommy Lasorda was one of the finest managers our game has ever known. He loved life as a Dodger,” MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred said in a statement. “His passion, success, charisma and sense of humor turned him into an international celebrity, a stature that he used to grow our sport.”