PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the past half century, Phillies fans have heard a voice in the ballpark. That voice is from Dan Baker.
Eyewitnesses sat down with the news team’s longtime public announcer to talk about how they recently overcame cancer and retrieved the microphone for their 50th Phillies season.
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“Hello ladies and gentlemen. Philadelphia Phillies welcomes you to Citizen Bank Park,” Baker says before every home game.
Baker’s voice extends to several sports and stadiums in South Philadelphia.
On Friday, the Phillies host the Oakland Athletics in Interleague Baseball in their home opener.
From The Weights to The Links to The Banks, Baker has served as a public announcer for the Phillies and Eagles for nearly 70 combined seasons.
“Happiness,” said Baker. “It makes me so happy to be in the ballpark. Coming here has always felt like this. I’ve felt that way since childhood.”
This year will be Baker’s 50th with the Phillies, but for a time in 2020 he was not sure if he would reach that milestone. A cancerous tumor in his cheek put his career and his health at risk, something he often thought was on the road to recovery.
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“It’s a way of life,” Baker said. “It brings me so much joy. And you’re right, Ross, it’s a motivating factor that keeps me moving. It excites me to be here.”
Baker had the full support of the franchise. The Phillies empowered him to reprise his role from 1972 onwards when he was ready.
“As long as I can speak well, as long as God bless me with good health, as long as the Phillies have me, I would like to continue to declare PA.”
Opening Day Baker is excited. Not just because they get to see newcomers Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos take the field.
But because even 50 years later, he’s as furious as any fan and says there’s always room for another ring.
“I don’t intend to walk away before we win a few more World Series,” Baker said. “You know, it’s not the last of these that I want to tell you if the Phillies would be kind enough to consider me for one for a future championship.”
Baker told CBS3 that he has no plans to retire any time soon. He says he hopes to continue as the team’s public announcer for the next 10 years.
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And if he does, it will make him the longest-serving public announcer in MLB history.