Tommy Lasorda was arguably the most beloved Dodger of all time.

As a player, coach, manager, and ambassador, he bled Dodger blue. The hall of Famer passed away on Jan. 7 after suffering a heart attack — he was 93 years old. Columnist Bill Plaschke spent years covering Lasorda, and in an interview for "LA Times Today," Plaschke reminisced with Spectrum News 1 host Kelvin Washington.

What You Need To Know

  • Tommy Lasorda loved the LA Dodgers beyond all reason — as their struggling pitcher, fiery manager, headstrong executive and ambassador

  • Lasorda passed away on Jan. 7 from a heart attack

  • LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke spent 32 years covering stories about Lasorda and even had the honor of writing Tommy's book

  • In his 20 years as the Dodgers' manager, Lasorda won two world series championships, four national league pennants and eight division titles

Plaschke explained that Lasorda loved the Dodgers more than life itself.

"He loved the Dodgers so much he became the Dodgers. Tommy transformed them from a buttoned-down organization from Brooklyn to an L.A. city, family-loving, laughing, hoping, believing organization. His voicemail on his phone, which never changed all these years, said, 'If you don't know the Dodgers, you may not get to heaven.' He made the Dodgers an attraction, a commodity and a brand. He loved them so much and created them."

While many people remember Lasorda as someone larger than life, he also had a unique approach as a coach and baseball personality.

"When I covered a team back in the early 90s, and when they were going through tough times, I would talk to players and see if they would criticize Tommy's managing because it was unorthodox sometimes," said Plaschke. "And one player told me once after we criticized the guy who our kids call Uncle Tommy, that's how he went over the players. He sold baseball everywhere he went. He sold life. He signed every autograph, did speeches for free through the military, church, or school. Hollywood loved him because he was real."

Given Lasorda's accomplishments, personality, and dedication to the Dodgers, Plaschke says there will never be another Tommy Lasorda.

"He was so open, and he realized the media helped sell tickets and sell the fans. I'll never forget that he told me he had a story for me after the game, and he told me to stay with him. Everybody left, and he told me to stay with him while he showered. The shower starts, and Tommy asks me to hand him the soap, and he'll give me a story. So, I handed him the soap, but I got my notebook there because we did not have tape recorders back then. And there was smoke, fog, and mist, and my shirt and notebook were wet. All while Tommy is giving me a story. That's how much you sold baseball."

Plaschke spent 32 years covering stories about Lasorda and even had the honor of writing Tommy's book called "I Live for This." And he says he's never been around a more magnetic personality.

"Tommy would use some profanity. Well, he used a lot of profanity, except he never cursed around women or children. So, I wrote the book, turned in the manuscript; Tommy called me right before publication said he wanted to make one change. He wanted me to take out all the curse words. That's 10,000 words. I told him half of the book of curse words, and he said he didn't want people to hear him talk like that. But he would talk like that one minute, and he'd be hugging you and telling you how great you were the next minute. He's a good guy, and that's how he expresses himself."

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