Journalist Stan Hochman covered a variety of sports from boxing and the Kentucky Derby to the Philadelphia Phillies.
He called ’em as he saw ’em.
And what Stan Hochman saw — and wrote about — over a lifetime of sports reporting and analysis were some of the biggest milestones in sports history, including the Great Phillies Collapse of 1964, their successes in the late 1970s and early ’80s resulting in a 1980 World Series championship, and their spectacular run of success in the new millennium, which culminated in another World Series in 2008.
But since he first arrived at the Daily News 55 years ago, this Brooklyn native and graduate of New York University, where he also earned a master’s degree, did so much more than cover baseball.
And when he died at age 86, on April 9, the flood gates of memories and anecdotes opened on local sports-talk radio and in media across the country. This journalistic Stan the Man — a member of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2002 — was recalled for a career of innovation and insight whose writing style was as eloquent as it was gruff.
“Clearly, Stan was an amazingly talented sports journalist who conquered anything he set his mind to,” said Stephen.
Frishberg, board chairman, Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. “His accomplishments during six decades as a journalist and his contributions to Philadelphia sports in general have earned him the respect and admiration of every sports fan in the Philadelphia region.”
Many of them came out to pay homage after he died. Hochman was hailed by callers to WIP as a Renaissance man, an expert, the kind of guy they’d want to buy a beer for and a throwback to the image of Damon Runyon-era reporters, wearing “Press” tickets in their hats and running after stories no matter the obstacles.
He covered boxing, the Kentucky Derby and never let life throw him a curve ball, expecially when it came to baseball coverage.
On induction into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, he explained to the Jewish Exponent why he never felt alone out in the field as a Jew covering the baseball beat: “They love the game,” he said of Jews in general. “And, if they’re not athletically skilled enough to play the game, this might be the next best thing — to be able to write about it.”
He had the write stuff in other media as well; Hochman was the author of a trio of books. He was part of a writing dynasty, which included his wife, Gloria, and daughter, Anndee.
Gloria and Stan Hochman were honored together by the National Adoption Center at its 16th annual Sports, Vacation and Celebrity Gala in 1999. Gloria Hochman, a multiple award-winning journalist, has long been associated in the publicity field serving the National Adoption Center.
When it comes to awards, it is hard to outscore Stan Hochman. His honors included being named Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year numerous times and recipient of the Nat Fleischer Award for his boxing coverage prowess. He also was a multiple recipient of the Red Smith Trophy for his Derby coverage.
And his death was accorded the ultimate honor for a writer covering sports — it was marked on the front cover of the Daily News, which he had also served as sports editor for a number of years.
A sportscaster as well — known as the “Grand Poombah” by WIP audiences — Hochman was also a movie star: He played a sportswriter in Rocky V.
“Stan was so popular because he was just like the Philly sports fans. Cantankerous, angry. But he loved our teams,” former Gov. Ed Rendell, also known as the city’s No. 1 fan, recalled for the Daily News.
And now that he’s passed away, maybe, said Rendell, he’ll find a willing audience where he’s going, too. “A while back, I was talking to someone about Stan and I said, ‘If God is Jewish, he’ll look and sound just like Stan Hochman.’ ”
In addition to his wife and daughter, Hochman is survived by a grandchild.