Tommy Lasorda, legendary Hall of Fame Dodgers manager, dies at 93

Lasorda often proclaimed, "I bleed Dodger blue" and he kept a bronze plaque on his desk reading: "Dodger Stadium was his address, but every ballpark was his home."
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hall of Fame Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda has died, the team announced Friday. He was 93.

Lasorda, who spent seven decades in the Dodgers organization, suffering a sudden heart attack at his home Thursday evening, according to a statement. Resuscitation attempts were made on the way to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly before 11 p.m.

Lasorda had a history of heart problems, including a heart attack in 1996 that ended his managerial career and another in 2012 that required him to have a pacemaker.

"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," said Dodgers owner and chairman Mark Walter. "He will be dearly missed."
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Tommy Lasorda, the fiery Hall of Fame manager who guided the Los Angeles Dodgers to two World Series titles and later became an ambassador for the sport he loved during his 71 years with the franchise, has died.


Lasorda had a record of 1,599-1,439 while managing the Dodgers from 1976-96, guiding them to World Series championships in 1981 and '88. The franchise won four National League pennants and eight division titles under Lasorda.

Vin Scully, a fellow Dodgers icon, said there were "two things about Tommy I will always remember. The first is his boundless enthusiasm. Tommy would get up in the morning full of beans and maintain that as long as he was with anybody else.

"The other was his determination. He was a fellow with limited ability and he pushed himself to be a very good Triple-A pitcher. He never quite had that something extra that makes a major leaguer, but it wasn't because he didn't try. Those are some of the things: his competitive spirit, his determination, and above all, this boundless energy and self-belief. His heart was bigger than his talent and there were no foul lines for his enthusiasm."

Remembering Tommy Lasorda: Photos through the years
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Tommy Lasorda, the fiery Hall of Fame manager who guided the Dodgers to two World Series titles, has died. Here's a look at the Dodgers legend's life through the years in photos.


Lasorda often proclaimed, "I bleed Dodger blue" and he kept a bronze plaque on his desk reading: "Dodger Stadium was his address, but every ballpark was his home.

"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," Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten said. "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 had returned home earlier in the week after being hospitalized in Orange County for nearly two months.

The Dodgers on Tuesday said the legendary former manager left the hospital and returned to his Fullerton home. He had been hospitalized due to heart issues since Nov. 8, although the team didn't make it public until a week later. He underwent several weeks of rehab in the hospital.
Lasorda attended the team's Game 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Oct. 27 in Texas that clinched the Dodgers' first World Series title since 1988.

Born Thomas Charles Lasorda on Sept. 22, 1927, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, his pro career began when he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an undrafted free agent in 1945. He missed the 1946 and '47 seasons while serving in the Army.
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Th Hall-of-Fame manager received a lifetime achievement award at Dodger Stadium during the 37th annual "Dodger Salute" sponsored by the Hollenbeck Police Business Council and the Inner City Games.


Lasorda returned in 1948 and once struck out 25 in a 15-inning game. In his next two starts, he struck out 15 and 13, gaining the attention of the Dodgers, who drafted him from the Phillies. He played in Panama and Cuba before making his major league debut on Aug. 5, 1954, for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Although he didn't play in the 1955 World Series, he won a ring as a member of the team.

Lasorda pitched for the Dodgers for two seasons before the Kansas City Athletics bought his contract. He was traded to the Yankees in 1956 and sent down to the Triple-A Denver Bears before being sold back to the Dodgers in 1957. During his time with the Bears, Lasorda was influenced by manager Ralph Houk, who became his role model.

"Ralph taught me if that if you treat players like human beings, they will play like Superman, Lasorda said in his 2009 biography "I Live For This: Baseball's Last True Believer.

"He taught me how a pat on a shoulder can be just as important as a kick in the butt.

Lasorda stayed on with the Dodgers as a scout after they released him in 1960. That was the beginning of a steady climb through the Dodgers' system that culminated in his 1973 promotion to the big-league staff under longtime Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston.

Lasorda spent four seasons as third base coach while considered to be the heir apparent to Alston, who retired in September 1976.

Lasorda took over and his gregarious personality was in stark contrast to his restrained predecessor. Lasorda was known for his enthusiasm and outspoken opinions about players. He would jump around and pump his arms in the air after Dodgers victories and embrace players in the dugout after home runs or other good plays.

He is survived by Jo, his wife of 70 years. The couple lived in the same modest home in Fullerton for 68 years. They have a daughter Laura and a granddaughter Emily. The couple's son, Tom Jr., died in 1991 of AIDS-related complications.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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