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Hall of Fame Director Tommy Lasorda died Thursday of cardiac arrest at the age of 93. He worked for the Dodger organization for 71 years. Originally from Norristown, Pennsylvania, he made his major league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. After a career as a pitcher, Lasorda began his coaching career with the Dodgers organization. He became manager in 1976, won the World Series in 1981 and 88 and officially retired in 1996. Since then, he has held various positions in the Dodger front office.
Lasorda, who once said I made Dodger bleed blue, and when I die, I go to the big Dodger in the sky, never at a loss for words. He became known not only for his colorful words, but also for his leadership skills. Check out some memorable images and quotes from Lasorda’s life.
Error! The file name is not specified. Lasorda won a World Series ring with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955, although he did not participate in the Series. The only problem with success is that you don’t learn to deal with failure, Lasorda says in her autobiography, The Artful Dodger. Jim Curlin/AP Photo Error! The file name is not specified. Throughout his career, Lasorda has not hesitated to speak his mind. Sometimes you just have to let the arbitrator know you’re not happy with his decision, he said. … Not that it would do you any good, but you should tell them. Sakuma/AP Photo Error! The file name is not specified. When we win, I’m so happy I eat a lot, Lasorda told Forbes in 2004. When we lose, I get so depressed I eat a lot. When it rains, I get so frustrated that I eat a lot. Sports News/Getty Images Wrong! The file name is not specified. Lasorda has won two World Series and was Manager of the Year in the Netherlands twice. I think governing is like holding a dove in your hand, he writes in The Artful Bouncer. Hold it too tight and you kill him, but hold it too loosely and you lose him. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) Error! The file name is not specified. Last year we tried to teach him English, and the only word he learned was million, Lasorda said of Fernando Valenzuela (right), a Mexican native and Cy Young winner who signed on as the highest paid pitcher in baseball in 1986. Ray Stubbin/AP Photo Error! The file name is not specified. He found it difficult to remain silent when a judge intervened, but Lasorda never apologized for his leadership style. I motivate the players through communication by being honest with them so they respect and appreciate your skills and help, he said. Sports News/Getty Images Wrong! The file name is not specified. Lasorda expressed a desire to hug and eat with his players. He even stretched with Jane Fonda. It has always been the rule that a manager is not associated with the players, he said. … I was very close to my players in every way. Ray Fairall/AP Photo Error! The file name is not specified. For Lasorda, reaching the World Series was great, but nothing beats a trophy. The best part of baseball is winning the World Series, he said. Second place means a loss in the World Series. Mike Powell/Getty Images Error! The file name is not specified. When asked if he had ever been burned in a baseball game, Lasorda answered with a question of his own: I ask you, don’t you ever get tired of kissing a pretty girl? Lasorda, who was married to his 70-year-old wife, Jo, clearly had not had enough of either. LIFE photo collection / Photos get Error! The file name is not specified. No one has ever been on the same team longer than Lasorda, who spent 71 years with the Dodgers organization. The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in the determination of the individual, he said. Sportswire/Getty Images Icon Error! The file name is not specified. A painting by Lasorda hangs in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian. In 1997, he was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is eternal, and I thank God for everything, he said during his induction ceremony. I’m living the dream. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo Error! The file name is not specified. Perhaps Lasorda’s most famous quote is the one that directly relates to his long career in the game: If you love your job, you’ve never worked a day in your life. Paul Sancia/AP Photo
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