Tommy Lasorda might just be one of the biggest pieces of Dodgers’ History around. After more than seven decades with the Los Angeles baseball franchise, playing in both Brooklyn and Los Angles before leading the team to the World Series for two wins, he died this past week at 93.
While at his home this past Thursday evening, Lasorda suddenly went into cardiopulmonary arrest. Health officials pronounced him dead at 10:57 p.m., less than an hour later, according to a statement.
“Regarded by many as baseball’s most popular ambassador, Lasorda spent 71 seasons in the Dodger organization with Dodger Blue running through his veins,” the team said.
“We mourn the passing of Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda,” said the MLB organization in a recent statement.
Lasorda pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers in both 1954 and 1955, though he may be most remembered for leading the Dodgers to the World Series in both 1981 and 1988. He held his title as the Dodgers’ manager for two decades after taking over the position back in 1976.
Along with his two world championship victories, he won National League Manager of the Year two times as well. During his time as the Dodgers’ manager, he would go on to win 1,599 games. He would also be the very first National League manager to take home two pennants in his first two seasons.
He was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame back in 1997 after he retired in 1996. There was no one that had as much love for the Dodgers than Tommy Lasorda. “I love this place,” said Lasorda in a CNN interview back in 2013, sitting in Dodger Stadium.
“Sometimes I sit here and I can’t believe it. Blue heaven on earth,” he said. “I used to say ‘Hey, if you want to get to heaven, you gotta go through Dodger Stadium’.”
Lasorda was so in love with the stadium that he would often ask to be buried beneath the pitcher’s mound, which was his position during his playing years.
“And when some little ol’ left-hander’s out there struggling, he’ll hear a voice. ‘Slow down, son. Concentrate. You can do it. You gotta believe in yourself.’ And he’ll look around (and say), ‘Someone’s talking to me! Where? Who’s this guy talking to me?’ And it’ll be Tom Lasorda, underneath that pitching mound,” said Lasorda in that same CNN interview.
Tributes from Angelenos and beyond are pouring in for Lasorda. The team retired his jersey #2 back in 1997.