Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda died on Thursday night. He was 93. He’s survived by his wife of 68 years, Jo, and their daughter Laura and granddaughter.
By Lasorda’s own admission, he bled Dodger blue. For 71 years, Lasorda played, coached, managed, and worked in the front office. His personality was larger than life.
In addition to legendary broadcaster Vin Scully and player Jackie Robinson, Tommy Lasorda was the most iconic Dodger figure in the history of the franchise.
“He brought a sense of tough guy-ism to LA. … He was the heart and soul of this organization. So they win [the World Series] in 1981, and then in 1988, they go to the World Series with a team that nobody expected to dominate, and they won,” says Randy Sklar.
He says Lasorda demonstrates one of the greatest coaching jobs in history. “In an 11-year period, he takes the Dodgers to four World Series, and they win two of them. And in that period, he cemented himself as ‘the guy.’”
Jason Sklar adds that Lasorda had old school toughness, but was also open to pulling in new players, such as Fernando Valenzuela.
“Tommy Lasorda energized an entire portion of Los Angeles’ fan base. I mean, for all the Mexican Americans who live in Southern California and who rooted for the Dodgers, they really were able to get behind someone like Fernando, and his success was tied into the Dodgers’ World Series championship, and it made lifelong fans out of a whole portion of this population, and Lasorda was a big part of that,” says Jason Sklar.