Thomas C. Lasorda Jr., only son of Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda who was known as “Spunky” to his friends and family, died Monday of pneumonia and severe dehydration at 33.
Lasorda Jr., an artist, had been ill for some time and was recently hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He died at his Santa Monica home, with his father, mother, Jo, and sister, Laura, at his side, a family spokesman said.
Although the elder Lasorda had spoken privately of his son’s illness on occasion, Dodger clubhouse observers agreed that, outwardly, the strain of his son’s illness had not affected his managing. “It’s almost like coming to the ballpark has been his escape,” said one associate. “He has enjoyed getting in the clubhouse with all the guys, and acting like everything is normal. Through the game, he has been able to put this tragedy out of his mind for a few hours every night.”
Lasorda will miss the start of the series against the St. Louis Cardinals today. Bill Russell, the dugout coach, will manage the Dodgers until Lasorda returns. The day of services has yet to be announced.
“I talked to Tommy today, and his plan is to rejoin the club after the services,” Claire said. “It’s a very sad thing for all of us. Our hearts go out to Tommy.”
Lasorda has asked that instead of flowers, donations be sent to the Assn. of Professional Baseball Players of America, 12062 Valley View, Suite 211, Garden Grove, Calif., 92645.