LOS ANGELES: Tommy Lasorda, the aggressive Hall of Fame manager who guided the Los Angeles Dodgers to two World Series titles and later goes on to become an ambassador for the sport, has passed away. He died at the age of 93.
The Los Angeles Dodgers said on Friday that he suffered heart failure at his home in Fullerton, California. Later, he taken to hospital but there he was pronounced dead shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday.
Tommy Lasorda had a history of heart problems. Before this, he suffered two heart attacks, one heart attack in 1996 that ended his managerial career and another in 2012 that required him to have a pacemaker.
Earlier, he was too hospitalized since Nov. 8 with heart issues and returned back to home just on Tuesday
He was the one who attended the Dodgers’ Game 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Oct. 27 in Texas that clinched the team’s first World Series title since 1988.
Lasorda had served also as special adviser to team owner and chairman Mark Walter for the last 14 years. He maintained a frequent presence at games sitting in Walter’s box.
Hall of Famer, Lasorda worked as a player, scout, manager and front office executive with the Dodgers.
As a manager, he compiled a 1,599-1,439 record, won World Series titles in 1981 and ’88, four National League pennants and eight division titles.
He entered to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1997 as a manager. He also guided the U.S. to a baseball gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
After, Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully retired in 2016, Lasorda was the franchise’s longest-tenured active employee.
Looking at his career as a pitcher, Lasorda had a modest career at the major league level, going 0-4 with a 6.48 ERA and 13 strikeouts from 1954 to 1956.
Hall of famer was born on Sept. 22, 1927, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. He started his professional career when he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an undrafted free agent in 1945. He has to miss the 1946 and ’47 seasons because of serving in the Army.
In 1948, Lasorda returned and struck out 25 in a 15-inning game. In his next two starts, he struck out 15 and 13. This was enough to get the attention of the Dodgers, who drafted him from the Phillies. Before making his major league debut on Aug. 5, 1954, for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he played in Panama and Cuba. But, he didn’t play in the 1955 World Series and won a ring as a member of the team.
He was traded to the Yankees in 1956 and sent down to the Triple-A Denver Bears but got sold back to the Dodgers in 1957. During his time with the Bears, Lasorda was highly impressed by manager Ralph Houk, who became his role model.
Until 1960, Lasorda stayed on with the Dodgers as a scout but later they released him. That was the beginning of a steady climb for him through the Dodgers’ system that came in his 1973 promotion to the big-league staff under longtime Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston.
Lasorda spent four seasons as third base coach until September 1976, when Walter Alston retired. In L.A., Lasorda had managed many players, including Steve Harvey, Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Bobby Valentine and Bill Buckner.
Lasorda was known for his friendship with Frank Sinatra and with other Hollywood stars. To mark Lasorda’s debut as manager, Sinatra sang the national anthem on Opening Day of the 1977 season. The faux-wood paneled walls of Lasorda’s office were filled with black-and-white autographed photos of his celebrity friends.
Lasorda love to eat for winning and losing too. His obsession for food, he explained, “When we won games, I’d eat to celebrate. And when we lost games, I’d eat to forget.″
Hall of Famer has managed nine National League Rookie of the Year winners, including Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Sax, Steve Howe, Mike Piazza, Eric Karros and Hideo Nomo.
After Fred Claire, Lasorda became interim general manager was fired in the middle of the season, in 1998. He was appointed senior vice president as he resigned from that job after the season. In 2004, Lasorda became special adviser to the chairman, Frank McCourt.
Lasorda had a first heart attack during a 2012 trip to New York when going to represent the Dodgers at the major league draft.
He has beautiful wife, who continue to give him inspiration in his life.. The couple lived in the same old home in Fullerton for 68 years. They have a daughter, Laura, and a granddaughter, Emily. Earlier, the couple’s son, Tom Jr., died in 1991 of AIDS-related complications.