MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - In the early 1950s, Stan Bronson's mom took him to then University of Memphis Tigers head football coach Billy Murphy. She asked coach Murphy to let Stan, who had a mental disability, help around the football program.
That one encounter changed Stan's life.
He went on become a fixture around Tigers athletics for decades--until his death last month at the age of 89.
Stan was one of the most passionate Memphis Tigers fans around.
When Stan was alive, he was at nearly every Tiger football practice, women's basketball games, volleyball games, and soccer games. If the U of M was playing at home, Stan was most likely there.
But his true legacy was on the baseball diamond.
"He's a legend. Anytime you think of Tiger baseball from here to the end of time, it's always gonna be his name next to it," Eric Shoenrock, a former U of M pitcher, said.
Stan spent 56 consecutive seasons as the U of M baseball batboy, which earned him the Guinness Book of World Records distinction as "Most Durable Batboy."
As the U of M opens the 2018 season this weekend, Bronson's absence will be felt by many like Tiger baseball head coach Daron Shoenrock.
"It's devastating, because being here 14 years, Stan was a big big part of what we did every day for my first 10 years here," Daron said.
Stan had a special 7th inning tradition.
He would walk over to the home plate area and tip his cap to all the fans who came out for the games.
It was one of many ways Stan made people enjoy being around him.
"It was never a negative interaction with him. It was always something positive. He always had a smile on his face. He always had something funny to say to you. He always had a good outlook on things, and even when times were a little tough on him," Eric said.
"The lesson we all got from Stan was, do your job. The simplest of jobs you asked him to do. Go pick up a bat. Greet people at the front gate when they came in. It was rain, or sleet, or snow, or sunshine, Stan was the epitome of every day he showed up and did his job," Daron added.
The Tigers retired Stan's No. 47 jersey in back 2010.
The U of M will host a celebration of Stan Bronson's life at the Tigers Indoor Turf Field at the Billy Murphy Athletic Complex on South Campus at Park and Getwell on Friday at 1 p.m.