18. DAN BAKER, Public Address Announcer
A regular P.A. announcer at a ballpark or stadium, one who stays in their position for decades, becomes as much a part of the experience for fans attending games as the team itself. They become an integral part of the experience, and Dan Baker has been an integral part of every Phillies fan experience since he arrived for the 2nd season at Veteran’s Stadium in 1972.
Over the ensuing 43 seasons, Baker has served as the voice of the ballpark through 5 World Series and a pair of MLB All-Star Games. With the retirement of legendary Yankees P.A. announcer Bob Sheppard in 2009, Baker became the longest-tenured in his profession in all of MLB.
He has announced the pending at-bats of Phillies greats from Mike Schmidt, Dick Allen, and Pete Rose, on through Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley. The importance of this continuity, of generations of Phillies fans hearing the voice of Dan Baker introducing players, making safety and service announcements, and serving as the Master of Ceremonies cannot be underestimated.
In the end, it’s all about the fans and their experience, and Baker’s spot on this list is an acknowledgement of that very fact. Successive Phillies ownership teams deserve kudos for recognizing both the importance of the continuity of the atmosphere at a traditional game like baseball, and the excellence of Baker in delivering for the franchise.