Tommy Lasorda, Dodgers icon and Hall of Fame manager, dies at 93

Tommy Lasorda threw out the first pitch before Game 3 of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox

Tommy Lasorda threw out the first pitch before Game 3 of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox

When the Dodgers moved the membership to the Albuquerque Dukes, Lasorda stayed on as supervisor, and the group gained the PCL championship in 1972.

Tommy Lasorda, the Hall-of-Fame manager who spent 71 years in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and became one of the most colorful and recognizable personalities in the game, has died at the age of 93. He also led the Dodgers to the Pennant in 1977 and 1978.

"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", Dodgers chief executive Stan Kasten said in a news release.

"Ralph taught me if that if you treat players like human beings, they will play like Superman", Lasorda said in his 2009 biography "I Live For This: Baseball's Last True Believer".

Lasorda is known to pro wrestling fans as the special celebrity guest ring announcer for the Los Angeles segment of WrestleMania 2. He seemed happier than anyone to bring titles to the Dodgers, for whom he vowed to work until he couldn't do it anymore. "On behalf of my entire family, our condolences and love go out to his wife, Jo, daughter, Laura, and the entire Lasorda family".

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Mostly, though, he was a Dodger.

"I will continue doing it until the day the Big Dodger in the sky calls me", Lasorda once said, years after he had finished managing.

He played in Panama and Cuba before his league debut on August 5, 1954 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1949, the Dodgers drafted him from the Phillies. He earned Manager of the Year in 1983 and 1988.

Lasorda was the source of the nickname Bulldog, given to Hersh by Tommy himself.

Another enduring and, in some ways, endearing image of Lasorda in Montreal occurred on August 23, 1989, when the Expos mascot, Youppi!, was allegedly ejected for pounding on the top of the Dodgers dugout at Olympic Stadium.

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Lasorda spent four seasons as third-base coach while considered to be the heir apparent to Alston, who retired in September 1976.

From his hilarious pasta-spread interview with Bob Costas to deciding to let Kirk Gibson hit in Game 1, Lasorda was front and center for all of it.

Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers from 1976-96, attended the team's decisive Game 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on October 27 in Arlington, Tex. Lasorda was part of a remarkable managerial tree the seeds of which were planted by Branch Rickey while the Dodgers were in Brooklyn.

Dodgers fans remember him for delivering big wins during his two decades as manager, starting almost 20 years after then-owner Walter O'Malley moved the team to Los Angeles as part of MLB's expansion to the West Coast in the 1950s.

In L.A., Lasorda found numerous players he had managed in the minors, including Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Bobby Valentine, and Bill Buckner. If that didn't work, he might have become a New Age television guru, a titan of late-night television, hawking kitchen utensils specially created to improve your karma.

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As a coach, he has nine National Junior League award winners, including Mexican Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Sacks, Steve Howe, Mike Piazza, Eric Carus and Hideo Nomo. Lasorda was known for his enthusiasm and outspoken opinions about players.

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