He was a true character of the game. A man who loved the Dodgers and baseball like no other. Opinionated and strong willed. Profane and outspoken in one moment and then kind and tender in others. Lasorda demanded respect, which was something that I believe bothered him in his later years when autograph hounds would attempt to take advantage of his fame with their demands.
I can recount several stories of fans that he treated with extreme kindness in his many years at the helm of the Dodger team. His philanthropy and time shared with countless others, free of charge, need to be acknowledged. Yes, Lasorda loved the celebrity and the limelight that his position granted him, but it cannot be denied that he gave to his community time and time again.
I’m glad he saw one more Dodger championship in his lifetime. If anyone deserved to witness that, it was Lasorda. I’ll be forever grateful to my kind wife who arranged a meeting between Mr. Lasorda and myself in 1997. It was ten minutes that he didn’t have to give me, but he did, because he was that type of person.
To his family, I express my deepest condolences. To Dodger fans, I just say that we should consider ourselves fortunate for having known Tom Lasorda. His managerial decisions I often questioned. His personnel choices I didn’t always agree with. But there is one thing that never could be questioned about the man. He did all in his power to win. He was outright passionate about his loyalty to the Dodgers.
Rest In Peace Sir. You were truly loved by the Dodger faithful. Years ago Lasorda had joked and suggested to Peter O’Malley that he be buried under the Dodger Stadium pitcher’s mound when he died. That wish, of course, won’t be allowed but I’m sure he’d be pleased with settling for the epitaph that the former Dodger owner suggested for him “Dodger Stadium was his address, but every ball park was his home.”