The good old days of ESPN. 13 comments

Before ESPN became a marketing arm for the NFL, it used to be about sports. About the fun of sports. Chris Berman was one of the early stars who make ESPN’s Sports Center must-watch viewing because of his uncanny ability to come up with great nicknames for players. It was every bit as good as watching Weekend Update on SNL. Mainly because it was funny. And nightly.

As he would present the highlights of that particular night, Berman would attach nicknames to players. It was gold. Until ESPN started taking itself too seriously and told him to stop with nicknames. Upon which, he took it to the extreme and started calling everyone by their god given names. So Sparky Anderson was George Lee Anderson. Bubba Smith was Charles Aaron Smith. It was a big middle finger to upper management.

And it was truly the end of an era.

Not to be forgotten, here are the fifty best Chris Berman baseball nicknames:

Harold “Growing” Baines
Daryl Strawberry “Shortcake”
Mike “Pepperoni” Piazza
Moises “Skip To My” Alou
Rollie “Chicken” Fingers
Chuck “The New Kids On The” Knoblauch
Sammy “Say It Ain’t” Sosa
Todd “Highway To” Helton
Miguel “Tejada They Come, Tejada They Fall”
Jeff “Brown Paper” Bagwell

Albert “Winnie The” Pujols
Scott “Supercalifragilisticexpiali” Brosious
Eddie “Eat Drink And Be” Murry
Lance “You Sunk My” Blankenship
Oddibe “Young Again” McDowell
Mike “Enough” Aldrete
Tim “Purple” Raines
Mike “Leggo” Gallego
John “I Am Not A” Kruk
Jim “Washer And” Dwyer

Jose “Blame It On” Rio
Alan “Have Gun Will” Trammel
Jim “Bela” Fregosi
Rob “Double” Dibble
Carlos “One If By Land Two If” Baerga
Mark “Bay City” Wohlers
Craig “Def” Lefferts
Jim “Frito” Leyritz
Ron “Ma And Pa” Kittle
Von “Purple” Hayes

Steve “Alto” Sax
Wally “Absorbine” Junior
Ron “Tala” Hassey
Greg “Appa” Maddux
Mario “Scotch And” Soto
Bruce “Three-Piece” Sutter
Jeff Conine “The Barbarian”
Doug “Bats In The” Pelfrey
Bernard “Innocent Until Proven” Gilkey
Steve “Poison” Avery

Rick “See You Later” Aguilera
Carlos “Daylight Comes And” Delgado “Go Home”
Bobby “Bad To The” Bonilla
Tom “Cotton” Candiotti
Lamar “Where Does It” Hoyt
Barry “U.S.”Bonds
Jermaine “Live And Let” Dye
David “Supreme Court” Justice
Hideo “Ain’t Gonna Work On Maggie’s Farm” Nomo
C.C. “Splish Splash I Was Taking” Sabathia

With apologies to Mr. Berman, here are my attempts at nicknames for current Rangers. I hope I did him proud:

Ronald “Mother” Guzman
Rougned “Who’s That Knocking On My” Odor
Elvis “Has Left The Building” Andrus
Jurickson Profar “Pro Good”

Joey “We Will Sell No Wine Before Its Time” Gallo
Delino De “Panty” Shields
“Just Say” Nomar Mazara
“Swift Kick In The” Shin-Soo Choo
Isiah Kiner-Falefa “Cliff”
Jeff Mathis “Is Us”
Carlos Tocci “A Pet”
“Free” Willie Calhoun

Mike “Contributing To The Delinquency Of A” Minor
Jose Leclerc “Kent”
Drew Smyly “Coyote”
Alex “Dirt” Claudio