Remembering Stan the Man

If you've read Cito's farewell open letter to the fans in the Star, one part might have left you wondering.

Just before signing off with a thank you, he mentions three departed people in his thoughts. Voice of the Jays Tom Cheek is an obvious one. And John Cerutti is another, who played on Cito's team and eventually settled in to the broacast booth. But the third person is someone from behind the scenes, who most fans wouldn't know.

Walter Stancheson. "Stash" apparently to Cito, but "Stan the Man" to most of us. He was basically the one-man manager, attendant, cleaner, cook, concierge and more to the umpires in their own mini-clubhouse, the umpires' room. It might seem odd that the umpire's guy made such an impression, but he was a beloved figured to many.

This Yahoo groups post describes him well as a "grandfatherly figure" around the Ex then the Dome:

Stan will be remembered for much more than his role with the umps. He will be remembered as a kind grandfatherly figure employees throughout the building loved dearly. He made daily deliveries of fresh fruit, Ju-Jubes (or whatever he had extra of) to friends throughout the building. Frequent stops were made to the ticket office, building operations and even the GM's box.

Where did he get all of this stuff? Well, you see, over the years Stan had made many friends outside the building as well. He had a Ju-Jube guy, a raspberry guy, peach guy, deodorant guy, clothing guy and cigar guy ... just to name a few.

As a "Runner" (gofer) with the Jays in 1989-90, one of our daily tasks was picking up five boxes of new game balls from the groundscrew's storage area (behind left field at the Dome), sticking them in "the umpire's bag" and bringing them to Stan the Man in the umpire's room (beside the visitor's clubhouse). Then at the end of the game, we'd pick up the bag with the unused new balls (for the next game) and the used balls not sent into the stands but mostly discarded by the home umpire (to be sent down to the Jays minor-league facilities).

Stan would invariably have some food for us to squirrel away and/or bring back to our other guys. And he'd be like that with all kinds of people in the organization. In later years I worked in the ticket office, and I'd sometimes seem him strolling through before a game with goodies for someone. He wasn't the only one though - as a runner we'd often make our way in after the games to polish off the player's post-game buffets and help ourselves to other good stuff thanks to complicit clubbies. But Stan definitely was the most generous to the most people.

Didn't know this bit, but from that same post above, apparently he knew the way to the players' hearts too:

It was the cigar guy who helped Stan become a legend with every player who donned a Blue Jay uniform. Many years back he started a tradition. Stan religiously delivered a cigar to every Jays player who hit a home run or was the winning pitcher at home. Many times, the gift was on the player's chair before the end of the game.

For the story on how Stan came to the job, here's a nice profile in the Star.

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