While the other guys I played basketball with on the sloped courts at my grade school in Northeast Philadelphia had Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Richie—yes, we called him Richie then—Allen for boyhood heroes, I had guys like Sandy Grady, Frank Dolson and Stan Hochman.
They would talk about the great catches or the long home runs. I would talk about the turning of a phrase or a strong take on an issue.
Now, with Stanley’s passing at the age of 86, I have not only lost a hero but someone I got to know as a friend and someone who was a friend of Temple football. Of the three great Philly sports columnists, only Stan was a friend of Temple football. (The other two guys pretty much wanted the school to drop the sport.) Stan always felt there was room for a big-time college team in the city and wanted Temple to thrive, particularly at the box office.
As an active and credentialed (if that means anything) sportswriter with the Doylestown Intelligencer and Philadelphia Inquirer, I got to know Stan because he was one of the few guys who would show up with me in a largely empty press box at Veterans Stadium to cover some Temple games. Stan wrote some of his best stuff on Temple football, lately writing about a guy (appropriately enough named Doolittle) who was working on a never released movie about Temple football fans and later about Wayne Hardin’s attempt to fill the stadium for an Al Golden-Era Temple game. As always, Stan’s emails were full of wit and I thought it was an extra good day when I got one.