Tim Kurkjian has been a prominent figure in the baseball media world for the last three decades, most notably as an ESPN Major League Baseball insider and frequent on-air personality of ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning show Baseball Tonight.
Kurkjian, 58, grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and was raised in a “sports house,” but special emphasis was placed on baseball.
Kurkjian went to Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, where he played basketball and baseball. He got into writing after his basketball coach recommended he try writing for the school newspaper.
He eventually became the sports editor and credits that experience for confirming that if he were to fulfill his childhood dream of making a career out of sports, it would be in journalism.
He enrolled at the University of Maryland in the fall of 1974 and received his bachelor’s degree in journalism in the spring of 1978 from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
While at Merrill, Kurkjian wrote for his hometown paper, the Montgomery Journal, covering high school sports.
Immediately after graduating, Kurkjian took a position at The Washington Star. In his time at The Star, he had a multitude of responsibilities: answering phone calls, writing high school sports briefs, running errands for seasoned reporters. Kurkjian eventually became a staff writer for The Star in 1981, but that role was short-lived, as the newspaper went out of business that same year.
Kurkjian recovered quickly and joined the Baltimore News-American days after The Star’s collapse, but whatever doomed The Star followed him to Baltimore, as the News-American also folded within two months of Kurkjian’s arrival.
Kurkjian quickly rebounded once again and took a position at The Dallas Morning News, where his journalism career would eventually take a giant leap forward.
Shortly after joining The Morning News, Kurkjian became the beat writer for the Texas Rangers. Kurkjian acknowledges this experience as one of the toughest times of his career, but also a defining one. He covered the Rangers from 1982 through their 1985 season.
After the Rangers’ 1985 season, Kurkjian moved back home and covered the Baltimore Orioles for The Baltimore Sun for four years. After the Orioles’ 1989 season, Sports Illustrated called him and offered him the senior baseball writer job, which he would later accept and hold for the next eight years.
In 1998, Kurkjian joined ESPN as a baseball insider and has held that position ever since. Kurkjian has covered every MLB All-Star Game and World Series since 1982 and has published two books, America’s Game and Is This A Great Game, Or What?, with a third book in the final stages of publication.
Kurkjian and his wife, Kathy, live in Gaithersburg, Maryland. and have two children, Kelly, 23, and Jeff, 21. Kelly, an artist, is a graduate of Syracuse University, and Jeff is currently studying journalism at Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.