Tommy Lasorda, the legendary former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has died. He was 93 years old.
Lasorda was hospitalized in November, dealing with what was reported as a serious condition. The reason for his hospitalization was not disclosed by his family or the Dodgers organization.
This week, he was released from the hospital after seven weeks, the team announced. Now, days later, he has passed away.
Bobby Valentine, who made his professional debut with the Ogden Dodgers under then-manager Tommy Lasorda, broke the news. The two both made the jump to the Triple-A Spokane Indians, Valentine as a bright teenage star, and Lasorda as a rising manager. Valentine would never play for Lasorda with the Los Angeles Dodgers, leaving for the California Angels after the 1972 season, the year before Lasorda would become a coach for the big league club, but the two maintained a strong relationship.
Words can not express my feelings. A friend and mentor for 52 years is no longer with us. Tommy no one will ever fill the void you left. Thank you for everything. R.I.P.
— Bobby Valentine (@BobbyValentine) January 8, 2021
Less than 20 minutes after Bobby V’s tweet, the Dodgers confirmed the sad news. According to the team he suffered a “sudden cardiopulmonary arrest at his home” last night, and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) January 8, 2021
Lasorda played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Kansas City Athletics, with a brief career as a pitcher, but quickly found his calling in the dugout. After four years as third base coach under Walter Alston, who was with the team during its move from Brooklyn, Lasorda took over as manager at the end of the 1976 season.
He went on to post a 1,599–1,439 as manager from 1976-1996, leading the team to World Series victories in 1981 and 1988. This year, he was in Arlington for the Dodgers’ first World Series victory since that 1988 title.
Over the last 14 years, Lasorda served as special advisor to the chairman of the Dodgers. His No. 2 has been retired by the franchise. In 1997, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Our thoughts go out to the Lasorda family, his many friends around the Dodgers and the larger baseball world.