Hall of Fame baseball manager Tommy Lasorda has died, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced Friday. He was 93.
Lasorda was in the hospital battling health issues in November. TMZ Sports reported at the time that Lasorda was on a ventilator and was sedated. However, things appeared to be looking up. The Dodgers said earlier this week that Lasorda returned home and was resting comfortably.
The Dodgers said Lasorda suffered a sudden cardiopulmonary arrest at his home around 10:09 p.m. local time Thursday night. He was pronounced dead about 40 minutes later.
Los Angeles Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the Dodgers take on the New York Mets in game two of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 10, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
“Tommy Lasorda was one of the finest managers our game has ever known,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “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. 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.”
Dodgers officials released statements on his passing.
Lasorda played in the big leagues from 1954 to 1956 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Kansas City Athletics. He became the Los Angeles Dodgers third-base coach in 1973 and was expected to be the next manager for the team once Walter Alston stepped down.
The prediction was correct.
He served as the Dodgers’ manager from 1976 to 1996. He won four pennants with Los Angeles and two World Series. He was the manager when Kirk Gibson hit a walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 series against the Oakland Athletics and was seen jumping in jubilation as Gibson rounded the bases.
Tommy Lasorda celebrates the 1988 Dodgers’ World Series win (Getty Images)
Lasorda left the Dodgers in the middle of the 1996 season after having health issues. He would come back to manage the 2000 U.S. Olympic baseball team and coach in the 2001 MLB All-Star Game.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame via the Veterans Committee in 1997. He finished his managerial career with a 1,599-1,439 record.