Tommy Lasorda, who for more than two decades managed the Los Angeles Dodgers and for twice that long lent his simmering, feisty, in-your-face temperament to the iconic franchise, died Thursday night. He was 93.
The team announced that he “suffered a sudden cardiopulmonary arrest at his home.”
His death came less than three months after the Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays for their first World Series championship in 32 years. Lasorda attended the deciding Game 6 in Arlington, Texas. He had been hospitalized and placed in intensive care in November, and returned home Tuesday.
In a loud rasp and with a sparkle in his eyes, Lasorda regularly declared that his blood ran blue for the Dodgers and challenged anyone to disprove it.
After a brief major-league career as a left-handed pitcher, then as a minor-league manager, scout and big-league third-base coach, Lasorda replaced the legendary Walter Alston as Dodgers manager in 1976.
Over the next 21 years, he feted celebrities, appeared on television shows, bickered with umpires and won baseball games. When a heart attack ended his managing career midway through the 1996 season, Lasorda had won 1,599 games for the Dodgers, along with four National League pennants and two World Series titles. He was twice the NL’s manager of the year, and in 1997 was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Dodgers retired his No. 2.