'A legend': Baseball world mourns Lasorda

January 9th, 2021

Tommy Lasorda may have bled Dodger Blue, as he liked to say, but the reaction to news of his passing on Friday showed that he belonged to all of baseball, as people throughout the game expressed their sadness as well as their gratitude for the impact he had on their lives and the National Pastime.

The Giants -- the Dodgers' storied rivals dating back to their days in New York, where Lasorda began his professional baseball career -- offered their condolences in a statement:

"We are saddened to hear of the passing of Dodgers legend and Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda. Tommy was one of baseball’s greatest ambassadors and truly loved the game and the people in it. We will never forget his good humored banter and the long walks he’d take across the field at Candlestick Park blowing kisses to Giants fans. He deeply respected and symbolized the great Giants-Dodgers rivalry. We send our deepest condolences to the entire Dodgers organization and the Lasorda family."

Tony La Russa had high praise for his fellow Hall of Fame manager:

"Tommy is in the conversation of greatest managers. He was an outstanding ambassador for baseball that influenced and entertained fans everywhere. He also was a great leader and championship game strategist. Gone but will never be forgotten!"

"Nobody lived, breathed, and slept baseball more than Tommy Lasorda," Alex Rodriguez said. "He was more than just a World Series-winning manager for those great L.A. teams in the ‘80s. He BLED Dodger blue. He was a true gentleman, along with being a champion and Hall of Famer."

Hall of Famer Frank Thomas remembered Lasorda's love for the game as "second to none."

Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, who appeared with Lasorda on "The Baseball Bunch" television series in the 1980s, offered his condolences. Lasorda was the “Dugout Wizard” on the program.

"I’m saddened to hear of the passing of the great Tommy Lasorda, Mr. Dodger,” Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins said. “My thoughts and prayers are with the Lasorda Family.”

Tigers general manager Al Avila, whose father Ralph was a Dodgers scout and vice president and is now the team's senior scouting advisor for the Dominican Republic, offered a heartfelt statement about Lasorda:

“All of us have lost an incredible person in the passing of Tommy Lasorda. Tommy had a significant impact on our family and I was fortunate to have known him for nearly my entire life. He was a best friend of my dad, Ralph, and godfather to my son, Alex. His intensity and smarts as a manager were known to all, but we were truly blessed to see what an amazing man, husband, father and grandfather he was away from the ballpark as well. So while my family mourns the loss of a dear friend, baseball has lost a legend. On behalf of my entire family, our condolences and love go out to his wife, Jo, daughter, Laura, and the entire Lasorda family.”

One of the biggest triumphs of Lasorda's managerial career came in 1988, when his Dodgers team beat the heavily-favored A's in the World Series.

"The baseball community has lost a legend and one of the game’s great personalities," the A's said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to the Lasorda family and the entire Dodgers organization."

During his managerial career, celebrities could often be seen in Lasorda's office or sharing meals with him at restaurants, including legends like Frank Sinatra.

So, it is only fitting that some in Hollywood today are also mourning his loss, including Jimmy Kimmel:

"No one loved anything more than Tommy Lasorda loved the Dodgers -- it was a thrill to know him. Sending love to his family, friends, players and fans."