Tommy Lasorda, who dedicated 71 seasons to the Dodgers–first as a player when the team was still based in Brooklyn, and later as the team’s manager–died late Thursday night of a heart attack at the age of 93. Lasorda had been hospitalized in November due to an undisclosed medical issue, but had returned home on Tuesday.
“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 statement. “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.”
Lasorda managed the Dodgers from 1976 to 1996, including seeing the team win two World Series titles. He is one of just three managers in Major League Baseball history to stay with a single team for 20 or more years and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Even after retirement, he couldn’t leave baseball too far behind, emerging to manage the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Team in 2000 and frequently appearing at Dodger games. He was present in October when the team won its first World Series since his departure.
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