One of the signature elements of Allan Malamud's "Notes on a Scorecard" column in the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Herald-Examiner was "Lookalikes: …"
But there was no one like the late Malamud, the local treasure of a man and writer who on Saturday will be inducted into the posthumous wing of the California Boxing Hall of Fame at Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City.
"He was quirky, a character," former Times Sports Editor Bill Dwyre said. "Everything in sportswriting was his life — press boxes, the games, the teams, people. We're all dedicated, but that's who he was."
Malamud died in his downtown apartment 20 years ago of natural causes at age 54, and former Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda told The Times then, "I won't know what to do in the morning without his column."
Malamud's rich connections in the city were obvious in his notes, and he could set the agenda for any team in town, including the Dodgers.
And when Lasorda decided to step down, he gave Malamud the story to break.
Nicknamed "Mud," he was a sportswriter straight from central casting and even had film roles in "Raging Bull," "White Men Can't Jump," "Tin Cup," and "Cobb."
He often wore a colorful silky jacket like the one from the Barbary Coast casino in Las Vegas that hangs in the Allan Malamud Press Box at Santa Anita Race Track. On another day, "Jacket," as he was known at the track, might also don a Lakers, Dodgers or USC coat.
Malamud was a proud Trojan who got a job at the now-shuttered Herald-Examiner in high school.
Former Herald-Examiner writer and veteran boxing publicist John Beyrooty recalls Malamud as the "Earl of Impatience," who would talk and move along in life as quickly and brilliantly as his column notes.
His favorite non-sports activities were eating, gambling and going to matinee movies, and on fight weekends in Las Vegas, two of those would intersect.
One time, Malamud grew so angry at losing heavily at the horse track that he threw his media credentials out the car window as he drove away, vowing never to return. A few days later, he was back at the track, asking for new credentials.
Malamud's legend was iced by his dessert stories.
He reputedly was walking past a bakery near the Herald-Examiner once when he saw a delicious-looking cake in the window that was decorated with the greeting, "Happy Birthday, Steve," so he walked in and told the person at the cash register, "I'm Steve."
Dwyre wanted that kind of personality on Page 2 of the Times' sports section and lured Malamud from the short-lived sports tabloid the National with a big signing bonus, telling him, "The L.A. Times is not going anywhere, even in the worst of times, and I want you to go from the Herald-Examiner to 2 million more readers. He took it."
After moving on to a columnist's position of his own, Dwyre said he tried to honor Malamud by writing in his patented three-dot column style.
"I found I couldn't do 15 or 20 items," Dwyre said. "It was tough to do what he did."