Lasorda spent 71 seasons in the Dodgers organization, including the last 14 as a special advisor. His wish to see the Dodgers capture another World Championship was fulfilled this past October when the Dodgers defeated the Rays in the 2020 World Series.
“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 in a team announcement on Friday. “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.”
In a 20 year career as Dodger manager, Lasorda posted a 1,599-1,439 record and two World Championships, four National League Pennants, and eight division titles. He is one of five managers to manage one team for 20 years or more. Lasorda ranks in the Top 20 in the MLB of both wins and games managed.
At the time of his retirement in 1996, Lasorda received many high accolades to his name. He had been named NL Manager of the year twice. His 16 wins in 30 NL Championship series managed were the most of any manager at that time. He also managed nine of the 18 Dodgers Rookies of the year, the most of any big league manager.
After retiring in 1996, Lasorda remained in the Dodgers organization, he was named Dodgers vice president, a position he held the previous 20 years. Lasorda then was in charge of all player personnel responsibilities in a short tenure as interim general manager, then later he was promoted to senior vice president.
In 1997 during his first year of eligibility, Lasorda was elected to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame, by the Veterans Committee. Becoming the 14th manager and 52nd Dodger inducted into the Hall Of Fame.
Prior to taking over for the great Walter Altson, Lasorda spent three seasons on his coaching staff.
The Brooklyn Dodgers first selected Lasorda in the minor league draft after the 1948 season as a left-handed pitcher. He went mostly unnoticed competing with over 600 minor leaguers for a job in the big leagues.
He had a three-year career with the triple-A Montreal Royals and was briefly called up to the major leagues in 1954 and 1955.
In total, he spent 14 seasons in the minor leagues, from 1945-1960 while also serving two years Honroiin the military from 1946-1947.
Lasorda also played a big role in globalizing the game of baseball. Then MLB commissioner Bud Selig appointed him as the official ambassador of the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 and for a second time in 2009. He traveled to over 30 countries as a spokesperson.
Lasorda returned to manage baseball during the 2000 Olympic Games, as he managed a United States team to a gold medal victory over heavily favored Cuba. The Olympic Gold Medal was considered Lasorda’s highest achievement as he himself said it.
Lasorda is survived by his wife of 70 years, Jo, who he married on April 14, 1950, their daughter, Laura, and granddaughter Emily Tess.
The Dodgers tonight will honor the life of Lasorda and fly flags at the stadium at half staff. They will also illuminate Lasorda’s retired No. 2 on the center-field wall. His seat in the dugout will be occupied by his two NL manager of the year trophies and flowers will be placed at his number 2 monument.
(Juan Dorado furnished some information provided in this report)