Los Angeles (AFP)
Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda has died of a heart attack at his home, the Dodgers said on Friday. He was 93 years old.
Lasorda, who had only returned home on Tuesday after a lengthy hospital stay with an undisclosed illness, died Thursday night, the Dodgers said.
“In a franchise that has celebrated such great legends in the game, no one who wears the uniform has embodied the Dodger spirit as much as Tommy Lasorda,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said in a statement.
“He will miss the Dodgers and their fans sorely. Tommy is simply irreplaceable and unforgettable. ”
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred praised Lasorda as “one of the best managers our game has ever known”.
“His passion, success, charisma and sense of humor made him an international celebrity, a stature that he used to develop our sport,” said Manfred.
Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers to World Series victories in 1981 and 1988, retired as manager of the Dodgers in 1996, about a month after suffering a heart attack in June of that year.
Four years later, Lasorda came out of retirement to lead the United States baseball team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where the United States defeated Cuba to win the gold medal. Lasorda remains the only man to manage World Series and Olympic Baseball champions.
The snow-haired former skipper is a beloved figure among Dodgers fans, regularly attending games at Dodger Stadium in a seat near the dugout.
He was in Arlington, Texas when the Dodgers won the World Series with a victory over the Tampa Bay Rays last October.
It was the team’s first World Series title since Lasorda guided them to the crown in 1988, adding a second title to that won under his leadership in 1981.
Lasorda was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 in recognition of his feat of managing the Dodgers for two decades between 1976 and 1996. Only three other baseball managers led the same team for 20 years or more.
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