Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons announced earlier today that he is leaving the ESPN network at the conclusion of the 2009 Winter Baseball Meetings:
"My decision to leave ESPN and move on at this point in my life has been conflicted. I owe a great deal of my professional life to ESPN, having spent more than half of my 40 years in journalism working for the network, and the choice to move on was made with nothing but the strongest feelings for the people with whom I worked. ESPN gave me a great deal more than I gave it, and will always be a huge part of who I am.
"I will forever be joined at the hip with John Walsh, who hired me as an ink-stained wretch, plunked me on TV and has always been a guiding spirit. Understand how the people who run ESPN treat people: when I was felled by a severe aneurysm in 2006, George Bodenheimer, John Skipper, Norby Williamson, my former Boston Globe boss Vince Doria and everyone made certain that my family and I had the best care and support, far, far beyond any reasonable expectation. My ESPN life has been lined with foxhole people whom I’ll never forget."
While ESPN has plenty of on-air talent too, it will be difficult to replace Gammons, who has spent over 20 years mastering his craft on ESPN. He is a legend within the industry, and there is no doubt that Gammons will surface again someplace else; it's just a question of where and when. Other talent has left ESPN and gone on to great success, most notably Dan Patrick.