Sitting in a dapper swimsuit with a Phillies pin on the jacket pocket whereas carrying his 2008 World Sequence ring, Dan Baker—the staff’s iconic public deal with announcer—reminisced on his experiences behind a microphone at sporting occasions.
“And on this nook, he weighs 265 kilos… from Abruzzo, Italy, the heavyweight champion of the world — Bruno Sammartino.” Baker reenacted that introduction from when he was a backup wrestling shade announcer with Buddy Wagner on Channel 48.
Baker advised this story, together with others — like dealing with the PA for the Military-Navy sport and broadcasting faculty basketball — in a press convention Monday on the DoubleTree Resort in Cherry Hill, the place he was honored with the Most Brave award on the Philadelphia Sports activities Writers Affiliation’s annual awards dinner.
“Quite a lot of organizations like this have gone out of enterprise,” stated Baker, 76, who was acknowledged for persevering by means of an ongoing battle with most cancers. Philadelphia Sports activities Writers are nonetheless right here. I am proud to announce for the Phillies for all of those years. I am grateful for the chance.”
With almost a half-century because the Phillies’ PA man, Baker has nonetheless bought it, and he hopes to proceed lending his voice to their video games for an additional 10 years.
“If God blesses me with nice well being and the Phillies may have me,” he added.
In 2020, Baker was recognized with squamous cell carcinoma, a type of pores and skin most cancers. He has undergone 24 surgical procedures and 30 radiation therapies since a tumor was present in his proper maxillary sinus. Throughout that interval, Baker continuously requested the surgeons at Thomas Jefferson College Hospital, “How quickly will I be capable to get again?”
He was absent for the Phillies’ 2020 season however returned in 2021 and was available for the World Sequence run final yr. Baker continues to be persevering with his rehabilitation and restoration from most cancers, which affected his imaginative and prescient and speech, however docs and pals have stated he has made miraculous enhancements.
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“Dan continues his rehabilitation, which doesn’t hinder him from fulfilling his obligations with professionalism, as he all the time has,” wrote longtime buddy and PSWA member Roger Hendler in a launch. “His dedication and zest of him are wonderful to witness.”
On stage with Baker at Monday’s occasion, who had been additionally being honored with awards, was Phillies supervisor Rob Thomson and third baseman Alec Bohm. Within the viewers had been household and a number of the docs who helped Baker throughout his therapy of him.
Baker has been with the Phillies since 1972, their second season at Veterans Stadium. He has been the longest-tenured PA voice in Main League Baseball for the reason that New York Yankees’ Bob Sheppard retired in 2009.
He is been part of six of the Phillies’ eight World Sequence appearances. He has thought of his tenure of him with the staff a privilege. This yr, Baker used one phrase to summarize being again at Residents Financial institution Park: grateful.
“You’ll be able to really feel sorry for your self on this state of affairs. I simply really feel so lucky,” Baker stated. “I imply, frankly, if that had been it for me a few years in the past, I’d say to God, ‘Thanks.’”
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Mount Ephraim, the Audubon Excessive College graduate was 25 when he began as a PA announcer. Along with his work with the Phillies, Baker was the Eagles’ PA announcer from 1985 to 2014 and a radio broadcaster for Drexel males’s basketball from 1997 to 2012.
As a longtime Phillies fan, although, Baker stated there’s nothing that compares to the sensation he will get when he walks into the ballpark.
“It is introduced me such enjoyment,” he stated. “I have been capable of share it with my household. I’ve met my spouse with the Phillies. … Each of our kids labored with the Phillies throughout their faculty years, so they have been so good to me.”