LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Outside of Dodger Stadium, fans are leaving flowers and other mementos to remember Tommy Lasorda, the 93-year-old former Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame Manager who died on Thursday.
Local artist Ric Rodriguez, who met Lasorda five years ago when he wanted to show the baseball great a portrait he painted of him, described Lasorda as one of a kind.
“He really captured your attention and I think that was a gift that he gave to a lot of people,” said fan Rick Rodriguez. “I did think of Tommy seeing (the painting), it gave me chills to think that this iconic figure that I’ve built up so much in my head from when I was a little kid back in ’88 was going to grace it with his autograph.”
He said Lasorda asked him to paint another portrait of him, and the two built a friendship.
“I got to connect with him and talk with him and talk baseball, talk life,” Rodriguez said.
Joining celebrities, sports figures, and loved ones, other super fans of Lasorda are also posting online about how Lasorda impacted them and their love for baseball.
Rick Acosta, who got to meet Lasorda at a baseball card show, said he will always treasure the time they spent together.
“To this day, I still tell people I bleed Dodger Blue,” Acosta said. “I’ve loved the guy since I was 8 years old and I just thought, don’t blow it here, just be nice to him… I walked away with the biggest smile on my face because I had met the man who bled Dodger Blue.”
Now, Acosta has a personalized, autographed photo of Lasorda that he proudly hangs on his wall.
As for the artist, Ric Rodriguez, he is personalizing yet another painting for Lasorda.
“I was actually working on one for him and his wife for their anniversary that I was going to gift to him,” Rodriguez said. “I think I’m still gonna.”
Tommy Lasorda and his wife, Jo, were married 70 years.
Lasorda, who spent 71 years with the Dodgers organization, is survived by his wife Jo, daughter Laura and granddaughter Emily Tess.