Dan Baker to Receive PSWA Lifetime Achievement for 50 Years as Phillies PA
Dan Baker couldn’t have hand-picked a better year to celebrate his 50th season as the in-stadium voice of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The 2022 Major League Baseball season saw the Phillies capture the National League pennant and appear in the eighth World Series in franchise history. Along the way, the Phillies celebrated Baker’s remarkable longevity with the franchise, which also marks the third-longest public address announcing career in Major League Baseball history.
Only Pat Piper’s 59 seasons with the Chicago Cubs (1915-74) and Bob Sheppard’s 57 seasons with the New York Yankees (1951-2007) rank above Baker’s 50 seasons in Philly.
In 2022, the team held a special Dan Baker 50th Anniversary Salute Night on August 5, and to recognize his career milestone, he was chosen for a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.
“I was so proud and so touched by the outpouring of affection, by the sincerity, and the kind remarks that were made by Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Greg Luzinski, Jay Wright, Fran Dunphy, Bruiser Flint and Phil Martelli,” Baker explained. “When I look around, and to think, you’re being recognized for doing something that you love so much, it just goes to show me what a lucky person I am to work in this environment.
“What a joy it is to work with all of those people in the PhanaVision and scoreboard control room. I absolutely love those people. Most of them are younger than me, obviously,” Baker said with a hearty laugh. “I’m 76, so there’s not too many people older than me in the ballpark. They’re terrific young people. My supervisor Mark DiNardo is just the best.”
Baker was hired by Bill Giles in the fall of 1971 in advance of the team’s second season at the sparkling new Veterans Stadium. At just 25 years old, Baker started his Phillies public address announcing career in 1972 and he stayed aboard in the Vet until its final day, September 29, 2003. And he, of course, moved with the club to Citizens Bank Park where he’s continued to bring his crystal clear, energetic delivery to millions of fans since 2004.
“(Giles) was one of the foremost showmen in the history of Major League Baseball and the only person you could rank ahead of him was Bill Veeck,” Baker explained. “Since I used to do public address announcing for these daredevil automobile shows (1969-71), and put a lot of excitement into those types of performances, that appealed to Bill Giles. But the main thing that was the most important to him was someone who knew baseball and could also operate the in-progress scoreboard along with doing the PA – balls, strikes, outs, runs, hits, errors. When he hired me, he said it was important to get it right and I immediately told him, ‘Bill, if you hire me, I’ll be the quickest and most accurate scoreboard operator in baseball,’ and for 32 years I was.”
With the move to Citizens Bank Park, the scoreboard and public address jobs became separate roles.
Make no mistake about it, Dan Baker is grateful for his amazing career.
“There are so many people who work at jobs and do great work and deserve all kinds of praise but they might not be in a position of visibility where they’re recognized or people see them, so to some extent, all of their accomplishments are done somewhat anonymously. For me, what I do, is on full display and I just love doing it.
Baker added: “To be able to have a position like this in an organization that you love, that stands by you, and you’re happy to be there, it is just the best. How lucky have I been to find a home with the Philadelphia Phillies more than 50 years ago?”
And lucky are Phillies fans who have received the gift of his enthusiastic voice for the last 50 seasons!
By Mike Shute
PSWA Vice President
(Photo, NBC Sports Philadelphia)