Farewell to a true friend
It’s a very sad day for the Dodger family, as Stu Nahan passed away today at the age of 81. Though a half century separated us in age, I’ve always felt very close to Stu and our sincere thoughts go out to his wife, Sandy, and his children.
Most people who grew up in Los Angeles (or Sacramento), knew Stu as a legendary TV and radio announcer, while anyone who grew up outside of these cities in the 80s probably remembers him from his roles in Fast Times at Ridgemont High or the Rocky Series. I still remember watching "Fast Times" in the visiting clubhouse of Bank One Ballpark when Stu was still traveling with us in 2003 and the entire Dodger team was giving him grief for his ugly sportcoat and giant glasses as he interviewed Sean Penn (Jeff Spicoli) in the movie.
Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve gotten to know him quite well and I was honored to be at the ceremony for his Star on the Walk of Fame earlier this year. The event, which had to be rescheduled because of his bout with cancer, was a great celebration of his life and I’m comforted by the fact that he had the chance to see just how many people cared about him. Hopefully everyone will smile when they think of him today because that’s what he was always doing – smiling.
His self-deprecating sense of humor and stories from his days as a bad minor league hockey goalie always kept people laughing and in the last few years, in his retirement, he could regularly be found in the first row behind home plate at Dodger Stadium, sitting with his good friend Scott Boras. He tells a great story of how the two of them met when Stu had to crash land a plane on a farm many, many years ago and it turned out to be the farm that Scott was living on as a kid. A lot of Stu’s stories were made up, but I actually think this one was true.
In any event, we could count on at least one call to the press box each homestand, as Stu would be trying to settle a bet with Scott over a weird statistic or the name of a random player traded by or to the Dodgers in the mid 80s.
But one thing will always stand out in my mind about Stu and that was his huge heart. Last week I got a message from him and when I called back, he wanted to know how I was doing, given the changes in my department at the Dodgers. He didn’t sound well and at the time, I had no clue that he was calling from his hospital bed. When I asked him why he sounded so bad, he told me the cancer had returned and no matter how many times I tried to ask about him, he kept bringing the conversation back to me and how I was doing. That was quintessential Stu Nahan and it was the last time we spoke, but it’s a wonderful memory that will stay with me forever.
He lived a great and full life and I hope all of you will keep him in your thoughts and prayers.