We couldn't be prouder that Tim is going to the Hall of Fame.
We were able to express how much he means to us.
We wanted to share a few of our favorite memories from working with a legend.
The most unlikely game of 21 was when I met Tim about 30 years ago in Arizona, and he was 5-foot-5. We've spent hours together in studios, on ballfields, in clubhouses, and in arguments about whether or not Mariano Rivera should be on the Mount Rushmore of the Yankees. My friend and colleague, whose first name was changed recently to Tim Kurkjian, has a lot of legends.
You've seen the Incredible Hulk, right? About his temper on the basketball court. Bruce Banner's eyes turn green when he is angry. This can happen to Tim, who can turn into a bad person if he gets into a pickup game. Hit him with a cheap foul call or a dirty undercut. He's really good. He was the only sports writer invited to participate in the games. The Iron Man does not suffer fools.
The man has been seen wearing a wool overcoat, but it's weird. The only plausible explanation is that his large heart draws heat from the rest of his body.
You know how your Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty head to the airport four hours before their flight? He was at the airport two hours before they arrived. He was supposed to be in Yankee Stadium for a 1 p.m. broadcast, but because of the possibility of snow and a large crowd, he went to the parking garage at 4 a.m. The game was not played.
His performance anxiety is persistent. Tim wanders about 15 minutes before every show, talking to himself, going over lines, getting settled in his brain, sometimes with nearby players wondering if he was ok. I've told more than a few that he's just practicing, and that Tony Gwynn, Jose Altuve and other greats also practiced a lot.
More than once, Hall of Famer Tim has called with a simple question, "What is it I'm missing about this situation?" He's aware that there may be a lot he doesn't know.
His oral history is a little frightening. You can pick the name of almost any semi-prominent player in baseball history, and he will have a story, well-paced, detailed and with a punctuating sentence that will make you smile.
Nobody is a close second to Rick Sutcliffe, who is the man who is the man who is the man who is the man who is the man who is the man who is the man who is the man who is the man who is the man who is the man who is the man who I've never seen a grown man emotionally hound another man like Sut does Timmy, and I guarantee you nobody in our business was happier for Tim's election today than Rick Sutcliffe.
Tim's ability to look for the good in people is a trait shared by Peter Gammons and Jayson Stark, two of our former colleagues who are also Hall of Fame writers. He's aware of the complexity of baseball and those who play it, but he looks for the good in every game, in each person.
He is beloved in the industry. The news about Tim is good news for our business.
I'm about to make my first appearance on Baseball Tonight, a show I've watched since I was 8 years old, and I'm Jeff Passan, MLB writer. I don't know what I felt. I was going to make a mistake. Say something stupid. Get a fact wrong. The studio lights were bright, and this was going to be a disaster, and suddenly a hand touched my left shoulder.
"This is going to be great," Tim said.
Maybe you've heard that Tim is the greatest guy. That doesn't sell him. Nobody would begrudge Tim for keeping to himself in that moment. Tim is generous with his time and knowledge. It was like a muscle relaxer when he hit my shoulder. He motioned to Karl Ravech, our indefatigable anchor who did, just as Tim suggested he would lead us exactly where we needed to go.
I probably messed up a few times that day, but I don't remember how. I remember the constant positivity of Tim Kurkjian: an elite teammate, a great friend, and the most deserving Hall of Famer.
Tim has always been kind and helpful as a colleague of Jesse's. He is the best known and liked baseball personality in the country. He was having dinner in Houston at a table next to Reggie Jackson's table. The tables were close to each other, but Reggie and Tim were not together. Reggie asked to switch seats with the person next to Tim as he ordered his meal. He wanted to talk to Tim. The conversation began. The current World Series and the old days. It was fascinating. I'll always remember that Mr. October asked to sit next to Tim, not the other way around. Someone with a presence in our game is that person.
Everyone knows how much Tim loves baseball. His second book was titled "Is This a Great Game, or What?" and was full of Tim's wonderful stories about his first 25 years covering baseball. When I was a baseball editor at the time, I learned how much Tim loved the sport. We had a softball league for employees of the sports network and played the games in the morning since so many of them were on the night shift. I invited Tim to come out and play softball with us because I had heard stories about his basketball prowess, and he must have been in town for Baseball Tonight. I thought we could use a good ringer. Tim showed up to watch the game even though he declined to play. He would make a self-deprecating joke about how pathetic it was that he had nothing else to do. I think it's a man who couldn't pass up the chance to see a game, even if it was a very boring softball game.
Eduardo Perez is an analyst for the MLB. The ultimate teammate. Extending a hand to make us better. Always giving sincere advice and with a knack for getting the story right. Tim is at the ballpark at 1 because he believes that's when the best stories can be found. Tim shows he has a way of getting the story when there is a lockout.
When I first joined the team, I had a lot of doubts about whether I deserved to be on it. Tim came up to me at the Red Sox spring training and welcomed me with open arms. He told me stories about his career, how he transitioned from newspaper writing to television, and how he was able to maintain his passion for his work over a decorated career.
The American League Wild-Card Game was where my favorite Tim Kurkjian story was. Dent's home run in 1978 that gave the Yankees the lead in the playoffs was the subject of an interview that was going to be broadcasted on the Disney Channel. Tim talked to Dent about his time with the Texas Rangers, not about his famous career moment. Tim came up to me and said that he remembered every detail of the conversation he had with Bucky about the trials and difficulties of the Rangers teams and the enthusiasm of a kid who had just discovered their passion and love of baseball for the first time.
Tim was enthusiastic about random, mediocre teams from the '80s, and it was inspiring to watch him. Tim was still a fan of telling stories and was not discouraged by his years of seeing how the sausage gets made in the baseball industry.
This is what makes Tim Kurkjian.
Scott Van Pelt uses his famous Baltimore accent while speaking with Tim Kurkjian.
You forget that Tim is a pretty good athlete and loves all sports, despite what he says. Over the years, it has been a pleasure to work with him. He is the best speaker. He reminds us of the deep love we have for sport and its history. Our history. This honor is well deserved.
Matt Marrone, MLB editor, hates public speaking, but has to do it occasionally. It had become my task to address a roomful of baseball writers and analysts as part of an annual MLB summit. I've gone so far as to toss wax packs of baseball cards across the room at people's heads to distract them from my voice. Let Tim take over. Tim has taken my topics and quickly had the room filled with laughter. He hits the ground running even though I've created silly games of Family Feud for the group to play and he has the perfect anecdote to fit whatever ridiculous backdrop I've projected onto the screen behind him. It doesn't touch any of the other accomplishments in Tim's career. Maybe it sheds even the smallest light on his intangibles.
Peter Lawrence-Riddell, a former MLB editor, said that talking about all of Tim's accomplishments would take too long. One project stands out for its size, length, impressiveness, and how well it exemplified what makes Tim great.
We ran a baseball fix series with a daily story from Tim for 100 days.
When the sports world stopped, we had no idea what would happen next or how long it would take. Tim jumped into something that probably only he could have done, telling daily baseball stories for 100 straight days from March 27, 2020, to July 3, 2020. Tim told stories about how to spell Rob Zastryzny and 100 reasons why it's still OK to love baseball.
Tim's love of the game, its history, personality, and stories were on display for more than three months. It made me smile a little bit at a time when there wasn't always a lot to smile about. Tim's love for baseball is infectious. His love and appreciation of the game is on full display when you read his stories in his voice.
Little leaguers join the broadcast booth and go toe-to-toe with Tim.
Sometimes the phone rings before 7 a.m. For more than a decade, it has gone this way. I smile when I see the caller ID because I know what I will hear. Tim's voice on the phone at the beginning of the day makes me smile and feel better.
He had a story idea that he had been kicking around in his head for a long time, and the minute you hear it, you'll know it's going to be memorable. He cares so much about getting it right that sometimes it's a thought, what if we did this or I'd like to take another crack at that last draft? My favorite calls are the cries for help. I think I messed up on the social networking site. He never did, but that doesn't stop him from worrying.
We came up with an idea during the dark days of the Pandemic. "Story time with Uncle Timmy" was the way it was pitched to others. It was turned into Tim Kurkjian's "Baseball Fix". The stories he has told in his Hall of Fame career are fascinating. He told me that people need to smile. I want to make them happy.
I have a hero in this business, Tim Kurkjian. A better person is not a better storyteller. He cares about the people he has known for a long time and the people he sees on the street, at a restaurant or on a golf course who just want to say hello.
John Updike wrote that Gods don't answer letters. To ask about me and my family, to get help figuring out how to use a godforsaken cellphone, my hero does that.