Dan Baker’s first job at a TV station was in the mailroom.
Baker, who earned his master’s in educational media in 1972, began working at the now-defunct Channel 48 in Philadelphia in the late 1960s. After a career change, he started announcing for Philadelphia sports teams, like the Phillies and the Eagles, for more than four decades.
The South Philadelphia native moved to New Jersey at age eight, but he became even more of a fan of Philadelphia sports teams. He rode the bus to attend as many Philadelphia sporting events as he could.
“My love for Philadelphia did not cease when we moved across the river, if anything it grew,” Baker said.
Roger Gordon, a retired education professor who taught Baker at Temple, said he not only had a strong work ethic, but also a contagious personality.
“I kind of always thought there was something special about Dan,” Gordon said. “That’s the thing, he absolutely took what I taught him and applied it to the real world.”
Baker is the longest tenured public audience announcer for Pennsylvania in the MLB. He has worked as the public address announcer at the former Veterans Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park.
He has also announced the World Series five times, along with two MLB All-Star games and three National Football Conference championships.
Baker is a 1968 education alumnus from Rowan University. During his time there, he started working at Channel 48 and recorded statistics for regular-season football games as well as Big 5 basketball games.
“I’d sit next to these announcers and I thought to myself, ‘Boy, maybe if I pay close enough attention, I could be doing what they’re doing,’ and eventually, it did happen,” he said.
He said he began perfecting his announcing skills by recording audition tapes of himself recreating play-by-plays, which he sent out to different professional sports teams, radio and TV stations, only to receive rejections in response.
Baker continued to work at Channel 48 and eventually graduated from the mailroom to the engineering staff, giving him the chance to announce in front of an audience for the first time. He started out filling in for announcers at wrestling matches and automobile thrill shows.
In 1972, he became the Phillies’ announcer.
Baker was a full-time teacher in the Philadelphia School District until 1980, but he ended his 12-year teaching career to focus on announcing. Baker began to fill in at the Philadelphia Eagles press box in 1968 and continued to work there until he was let go by the team in 2014.
Mark DiNardo, the director of broadcasting and video services for the Phillies, has worked with Baker for 11 seasons.
With 25 years of experience, DiNardo said Baker’s professionality, along with his knowledge and passion for the game, makes him an icon “not only for our sport, but for Philadelphia sports.”
“He is a true, old-school guy,” DiNardo added. “He treats people with dignity and respect.”
Baker said he gives credit to his parents who implemented proper speaking skills in their South Philadelphia row home and brought him to his first Phillies game in 1954.
He first heard of the open position as an announcer for the Phillies during his time with the Eagles. In the fall of 1971, Baker interviewed with Bill Giles, then-vice president, who went on to be a co-owner of the Phillies.
“And that was the catalyst for all of the nice things that ever happened to me,” Baker said.
Breanna Pegula can be reached at email@example.com.