It’s fitting that Chris Berman is a member of our first Hall of Fame class. Few have a closer identification with cable and its programming as Berman, who joined ESPN as an inexperienced 24-year-old Brown graduate in 1979, when what we know today as the world leader in sports was an iffy proposition of 70 people toiling in trailers on a muddy cow patch in "bucolic" Bristol, Conn., as Berman would say. The first live event coverage? A polka contest. Nearly 30 years later ESPN bears little resemblance to its infant state, except there’s Berman, an icon now with a booming voice, mixing sports with references to history and rock. Berman’s still dancing with the one that brung him. "I want to be George Brett and Tony Gwynn," he says. "I want to retire with the team I came in with. Once I go anywhere else, I’m a mercenary. I’m so proud to be one of the folks who helped lay the foundation here…It’s not about money, it’s about loyalty. ESPN has been great to me, better than I could have ever hoped for."

Fast Fact

  • It’s estimated that Berman’s coined more than 1,000 nicknames, mostly for baseball players, including Robbie "Remember the" Alomar, Jon "get thee to a" Nunnally, Rafael "Emerson, Lake, and" Palmiero and Bert "be home" Blyleven.

Return to 2008 CableFAX Program Awards table of contents.

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