Tommy Lasorda

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“Tommy’s the easiest person to write a book about in the history of books,” Plaschke says. “He’ll just talk and talk and talk. And every page is just funny stuff. Really wild stuff on every page.”

For example, there was the anecdote about when Lasorda was a kid growing up outside Philadelphia and went to a Phillies game simply to get the autograph of one of his favorite visiting New York Giants players, Buster Maynard.

“The guy shoved him aside and wouldn’t sign,” Plaschke says. “So five years later, Tommy’s in the Minor Leagues, pitching in a small town in the South, and who comes to the plate but this guy Maynard. He had been sent down and was ending up his playing career.

“So of course Tommy recognizes him when Maynard comes to the plate, and it was fastball to the head, fastball to the head, fastball to the head. Tommy threw at him six straight times, and he’ll be the first to tell you he was so bad as a pitcher that he couldn’t hit guys if he wanted to hit them.

“So a fight broke out, and after the game, Maynard tracked him down and said, ‘Who are you and why are you throwing at me?’ Tommy just said, ‘You once turned me down for an autograph.’ Tommy doesn’t forget.”