Tommy Lasorda has passed away after fighting declining health for several months.
The Los Angeles Dodgers of the 1970s and 1980s number among the most memorable teams in recent baseball history, and the architect of those teams was manager Tommy Lasorda, who used a colorful style of management to turn the Dodgers into perennial contenders in the NL. Lasorda continued to work with the Dodgers well into his 90s, but the team confirmed some unexpectedly tragic news about the Hall of Famer.
Lasorda, who had been in and out of the hospital over the last few months, passed away at 93 after a sudden cardiopulmonary arrest last night. Before his passing, he was the oldest living Hall of Famer.
Tommy Lasorda was a member of the Dodgers organization for 71 years
Lasorda spent a few years with the Dodgers as a relief pitcher, but his true calling in baseball was as a manager. After spending some time in the Dodgers organization as a scout and minor league manager, Lasorda took hold of the big league club in 1976. Lasorda, who would only have five losing seasons in 20 years as the manager of the Dodgers, winning the NL Pennant in his first two years in charge of the Dodgers in 1977 and 1978 and amassing a total of 1,599 career victories.
Lasorda, who quickly developed a reputation as one of the game’s great characters, had his finest moments in 1981 and 1988, when he led the Dodgers to World Series championships, the latter of which served as LA’s only title in the next 31 years. Lasorda’s No. 2 was retired by LA, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997. He would spend the entirety of his post-managerial life with the Dodgers as either a vice president, general manager, or special advisor.
One of the last moments of Lasorda’s life was spent in Arlington, as his beloved Dodgers broke their World Series curse by taking down the Tampa Bay Rays. Lasorda and this franchise will be inexorably linked forever, as No. 2 breathed new life into the Dodgers and made them one of the truly dominant teams of the 1980s.