Dodgers legend Lasorda dies at 93: team

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda has died after suffering a heart attack at his home, the Dodgers said Friday. He was 93.

Lasorda, who had only returned to his home on Tuesday after a long hospital stay for an undisclosed illness, passed away late Thursday, the Dodgers said.

"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 president Stan Kasten said in a statement.

"The Dodgers and their fans will miss him terribly. Tommy is quite simply irreplaceable and unforgettable."

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred paid tribute to Lasorda as "one of the finest managers our game has ever known."

"His passion, success, charisma and sense of humor turned him into an international celebrity, a stature that he used to grow our sport," Manfred said.

Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers to World Series wins in 1981 and 1988, retired as Dodgers manager in 1996, roughly a month after suffering a heart attack in June of that year.

Four years later, Lasorda emerged from retirement to lead the United States baseball team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where the US beat Cuba to win the gold medal. Lasorda remains the only man to manage both World Series and Olympic baseball champions.

The snowy-haired former skipper is a beloved figure amongst Dodgers fans, regularly attending games at Dodger Stadium at a seat near the home dugout.

He was present at Arlington, Texas, when the Dodgers clinched the World Series with 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 the one earned 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 two decades between 1976 and 1996. Only three other managers in baseball have led the same team for 20 years or more.