A 71-year veteran in the Dodgers organization, Lasorda led the Dodgers to two World Series Championships in 1981 and 1988, and his wish to see another championship in LA was granted this past year, when the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in the 2020 World Series.
Commissioner Rob Manfred issued the following statement:
“Tommy Lasorda was one of the finest managers our game has ever known. 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.
MLB Breaking News: Lasorda’s Legacy
Tommy welcomed Dodger players from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere — making baseball a stronger, more diverse and better game. He served Major League Baseball as the Global Ambassador for the first two editions of the World Baseball Classic and managed Team USA to gold in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Tommy loved family, the United States, the National Pastime and the Dodgers, and he made them all proud during a memorable baseball life.
“I am extremely fortunate to have developed a wonderful friendship with Tommy and will miss him. 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. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest sympathy to his wife of 70 years, Jo, and their entire family, the Dodger organization and their generations of loyal fans.”
After a heart attack in 1996, Lasorda retired as manager, ending his managerial career boasting eight division titles, four National League pennants, and two World Series Championships. Lasorda managed four All-Star games, with a 3-1 record, and he ranks 22nd all time with 1,599 wins as a manager.
The Dodgers organization issued the following statements through Twitter:
Lasorda managed the 2000 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal-winning baseball team, and he was honored with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with the Rosette from the Japanese emperor in 2008, along with his portrait hanging in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute in 2009.
Lasorda’s very brief MLB playing career ended with then-scouting directer Al Campanis hiring Lasorda as a scout, and later a Rookie League manager in Pocatello, Idaho when Campanis was promoted to General Manager.
Lasorda met much of his Dodgers’ core in AAA Spokane, which included Dodgers greats in Steve Garvey, Willie Crawford, Bobby Valentine, Ron Cey, Bill Russell, Bill Buckner, Tom Paciorek, Charlie Hough, Tommy Hutton, and others.
Tommy Lasorda will be remembered as an incredibly profane, incredibly profound, and incredibly entertaining. His managerial skills are evident by his wins, and his devotion to baseball and the Dodgers organization is evident by the following quote:
“I bleed Dodger blue and when I die, I’m going to the big Dodger in the sky.”
Lasorda is survived by his wife, Jo, their daughter Laura, and their granddaughter Emily Tess.
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