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ESPN: A Closer Look

By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 25, 2002

Through the years

SEPT. 7, 1979: ESPN airs SportsCenter as its first program with George Grande and Lee Leonard as anchors.

FEB. 6, 1981: Rhonda Glenn joins SportsCenter as the first full-time female sportscaster for a national TV network.

JULY 17, 1988: The "Sunday Conversation" debuts with an interview with Jack Nicklaus from the British Open.

OCT. 10, 1995: "This is SportsCenter" promo campaign begins.

MAY 17, 1998: The 20,000th SportsCenter episode airs, featuring coverage of David Wells' perfect game for the Yankees.

JAN. 21, 1999: "SportsCenter of the Decade" debuts, focusing on sports news of the 1940s. The series recaps sports history decade by decade.

By the numbers

3: Babies named after ESPN.

7: Sets used during 22 years of SportsCenter.

15.1: Percentage of males ages 12-19 who listed ESPN or ESPN2 in a survey as their favorite network, the highest for any network.

60: Countries that receive SportsCenter.

184: "This is SportsCenter" promo spots produced.

1,110-plus: Hours of original SportsCenter that airs each year.

11,000: Approximate number of highlights shown during the year.

Catch phrases

"Rumblin', stumblin', bumblin' . . ." "He ... could ... go ... all ... the ... waaaaaaaaay."

-- Chris Berman

* * *

"You can't stop him. You can only hope to contain him."

-- Dan Patrick

* * *

"Boo-yah!"

-- Stuart Scott

* * *

"Gat it."

-- Rich Eisen

* * *

"Yahtzee!"

-- Kenny Mayne

* * *

"He's not my vydas, he's not your vydas, he's Arvydas."

-- Craig Kilborn

* * *

"He hit the ball real hard."

-- Keith Olbermann

* * *

"We kid because we care."

-- Chris Myers

-- For more catch phrases from the toasts of SportsCenter, visit www.sportscenteraltar.com/phrases

Trivia

What was the first baseball nickname coined by Chris Berman on SportsCenter (around 1980):

Answer

John Mayberry "R.F.D."

Quotable

"If you're a fan, if you're a fan, what you see in the next minutes, hours and days to follow may convince you you've gone to sports heaven."

-- LEE LEONARD

-- with first words spoken on ESPN

Bookshelf

-- ESPN: The Uncensored History by Michael Freeman

-- The Big Show: A Tribute to ESPN's SportsCenter by Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick

-- Sports' Junkies Rejoice: The Birth of ESPN by Bill Rasmussen

-- The Quotable ESPN by Shelley Youngblut (editor), Jenny Ford (editor), Monica Schroer (editor)

-- Outtakes by Dan Patrick, et al

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