Long-time MLB exec Lajoie dies

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 12:18 AM ET

DETROIT -- Bill Lajoie, a long-time major league baseball executive, passed away Tuesday at the age of 76. He had most recently served as a special assistant to Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.

"Mr. Lajoie impacted the lives and careers of a countless number of players, scouts and front office executives," Huntington said. "He was a terrific evaluator of talent, an outstanding baseball man, a tremendous mentor and a better friend."

Following his nine-year playing career in the minor leagues, Lajoie began his front office career as a scout with the Tigers in 1974.

He rose to assistant general manager five years later and was the general manager of the 1984 Detroit team that won the World Series. He was also in charge of putting together the Tigers' 1987 American League East-winning team that fell in the League Championship Series to Minnesota.

During his time with Detroit, he acquire Darrell Evans, a key cog in the 1984 championship season, lost another key piece of that team, outfielder Kirk Gibson, to free agency and acquired veteran right-hander Doyle Alexander for the '87 stretch run for a then-little known minor league hurler by the name of John Smoltz.

"Bill was a respected and highly-regarded baseball executive who made significant contributions to the Tigers franchise and the game of baseball," Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski said.

Lajoie then continued his career in the front offices of the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.


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