By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
April 10 2015, 4:30 PM EST.
Philadelphia lost a true legend on Thursday with the passing of sports writer Stan Hochman.
A genuine character with a flair for telling stories, Hochman spent more than four decades reporting on the rough-and-tumble Philadelphia sports scene.
I first met Hochman about fifteen years ago while at the Philadelphia Daily News. He was a universally respected columnist and I was a rookie reporter just trying to find my way around the newsroom.
At the time, it felt strange to think of him as a colleague – we were generations apart with differing opinions on the world of spot. We were never equals.
Hochman saw things differently.
He could have been a curmudgeon, absorbed in his own success, but he wasn't. He took time to offer constructive feedback and had no problem offering a hand when needed.
I remember one particular late night sitting at the Palestra and struggling to make deadline because an interview ran long. Sitting alone, Hochman must’ve noticed the look of fear in my face as I turned away from my laptop to glance at a clock on the wall.
“I believe in ‘ya kid, you can do this,” he said with a smirk. “You wouldn't be in this situation if you couldn’t handle it.”
Hochman was right. The piece was submitted prior to deadline and ran in print the next day.
He didn’t have to help a young reporter in need. He didn't need to recognize me and provide support, but he did.
That was Hochman.
We stayed in touch over the years, often emailing back-and-forth.
The two of us last spoke about six months ago. I was collaborating with another reporter on an investigative piece regarding the Phillies, the City of Philadelphia, and the creation of Philadelphia’s MLB Urban Youth Academy.
Hochman had previously written a pair of articles about the UYA and was unhappy with the slow building process and the lack of openness of records related to funding.
After a formal request, I obtained thousands of financial documents from the City of Philadelphia, including a full DVD with scanned images of receipts, documents, and plans regarding future renovations at Ashburn Field and Marian Anderson Recreation Center all masked under the UYA initiative.
“Good luck plowing through all the research for the story,” Hochman said. “When you get near the end, let me know because I’d love to add some history to the story.”
We both knew it would take months to go through the documents. Unfortunately, I'll never be able to get Hochman's input on my findings.
Another icon, gone too soon.