Baseball's "most popular ambassador" spent seven decades with the Dodgers, which included 71 seasons, according to the team. His passion, success, charisma and sense of humor turned him into an worldwide celebrity, a stature that he used to grow our sport. "He loved life as a Dodger", MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. After playing for Alston in Montreal, Lasorda joined the likes of Don Zimmer, Dick Williams, Sparky Anderson, Gene Mauch, Gil Hodges, Clyde King, Preston Gomez, Danny Ozark, Roger Craig and Roy Hartsfield, the first manager in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays, as major-league managers to have played, coached or managed in the minors while Rickey was in charge.
Lasorda's longevity and wit put him in the pantheon of such legendary longtime baseball managers as Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra, whose verbal prowess made them media darlings. He managed the Dodgers to World Series in 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1988, winning the latter two. It's the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more! He retired from managing in Major League Baseball in 1996 and was elected to the Hall of Fame the following year.
"There are two things about Tommy I will always remember".
The Dodgers announced in a tweet on Sunday that Lasorda had been hospitalized in intensive care in Orange County and that he was "resting comfortably", although it didn't provide details of his illness. But his affable image in TV ads contrasted sharply with a more combative side.
Lasorda was born in Norristown, Pa., in 1927. His career was interrupted when he served two years in the military.
The left-handed pitcher returned to minor league baseball in upstate NY in 1948 with the Schenectady Blue Jays, gaining notice for a 25-strikeout performance. In his next two starts, he struck out 15 and 13, gaining the attention of the Dodgers, who drafted him from the Phillies. Lasorda appeared in 26 big league games as a left-handed pitcher between 1954 and 1956: eight with the Brooklyn Dodgers and 18 with the Kansas City Athletics, who were jokingly referred to as a Dodgers farm team. He played in Panama and Cuba before making his major league debut on August 5, 1954, for the Brooklyn Dodgers. "We extend our deepest sympathies to his dear wife of 70 years, Jo, the entire Lasorda family and the Dodgers organization". He had a pacemaker implanted and it was replaced five years later.