Here are #WNSTSweet16 people who had a dream in Baltimore

January 21, 2014 | Nestor Aparicio

12. Mel Kiper, Jr.

His name is synonymous with the NFL Draft and college football prospects but he was once just a Calvert Hall kid who chased Ernie Accorsi around the Baltimore Colts complex with a spiral notebook full of thoughts and observations about football players. Scouting was barely its own industry within the NFL but a media personality who talked about footballs at dizzying speeds with a jargon – and a hair style – all his own? It was one of the things that made ESPN so unique – they had an “expert” and once a year a guy named Mel Kiper from Baltimore came out to lay his knowledge and opinion on the line. Accorsi, also a Baltimorean, encouraged Kiper to give his draft information to the world and the affable Kiper took something that was nothing in 1978 and turned it into his own cottage industry where he had no peers in the pre-internet world.

Sure he’s been featured in videos games and played himself in Jerry Maguire, but he always gets major play for the funny old video of his coiffed ‘do in 1983 or the live exchange with Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Tobin in 1994 for picking Trev Alberts instead of Trent Dilfer with the fifth pick of the draft.

When he started it was a labor of love and in 2014 it’s a massive, multimillion dollar industry around Indianapolis (of all places),the  NFL Network, sponsors, agents and a weekend that’s must-see TV for millions of football fans in America. Mel Kiper never dreamed it what be this big but what was only once important to him is now a part of sports Americana.

See next page for No. 11

3 Comments For This Post

  1. Sam Says:

    This list is spot on…but somewhere in 16, Ray Lewis’ name should have appeared. No doubt about it.

  2. TimNATC Says:

    Heck of a job with this list! I see one that is missing though. His name is Nestor Aparicio. You cannot be a Baltimore sports fan and not recognize what Nestor has done for/meant to the city of Baltimore. Nestor worked hard from a young age to learn and master his craft. When he started WNST people laughed and said he would fail. He had a nationally syndicated radio show and gave it up because he didn’t want to leave his hometown. We should all be thankful that he stayed. Since I have known Nestor (I only really know him through listening and reading) he has always been ahead of his time. He loves sports, he loves Baltimore. Thank you Nestor!

  3. Rich Says:

    TimNATC stole my thunder. Except somehow I believe Nestor’s name is conspicuously absent from the list of 16, but is blatantly included by way of the byline. I, too, believe Nestor is the ultimate Baltimore sports dream-come-true story, but you’d be hard-pressed to fill the stands with enough believers. I don’t think he’d really want it any other way. Nice work, Nasty, as always.

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