“Considered by many to be baseball’s most popular ambassador, Lasorda spent 71 seasons in the Dodger organization with Dodger Blue running through his veins,” the team said.
Lasorda, who won World Series titles as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 and 1988, played in the Brooklyn Dodgers system in 1954 and 1955. He took charge of the Los Angeles in 1976, a post that ‘he held for 20 years, winning two National League Director of the Year awards in addition to those two world championships. He also led the team to 1,599 wins during his tenure as manager and was the first National League manager to win two pennants in the first two seasons.
Lasorda was known for his unbridled love for the Dodgers. In a 2013 CNN interview at Dodger Stadium, Lasorda simply said, “I love this place.”
“Sometimes I sit here and I can’t believe it. Blue paradise on earth, ”he says. “I used to say ‘Hey, if you want to go to heaven, you have to go through Dodger Stadium’. ”
He loved it so much, he said, he wanted to be buried under the pitcher’s mound – the position he used to play.
“And when a little old left-hander struggles, he’ll hear a voice.” Slow down, son. Concentrate. You can do it. You have to believe in yourself. And he will look around (and say): “Someone is talking to me!” Or? Who is this guy talking to me? “And it will be Tom Lasorda, under that mound,” the Hall-of-Famer, himself a left-handed pitcher, told CNN.
Tributes are pouring in for the man, whose No.2 shirt was retired by the team in 1997.
Dodgers owner and president Mark Walter said: “He was a great ambassador for the team and for baseball, a mentor for players and coaches, he always had time for an autograph and a story for his many. fans and he was a good friend. He will do it. be very much missed. ”
Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully said he would also remember Lasorda’s “boundless enthusiasm” and determination.
“Tommy would wake up in the morning full of beans and keep him going as long as he was with someone else,” he said.
Lasorda is survived by his wife of 70 years, Jo; their daughter, Laura, and granddaughter Emily Tess.
Lauren M. Johnson of CNN contributed to this report.