Phillies: Dan Baker goes above and beyond for diehard fans
By Matt Rappa
Phillies public address announcer Dan Baker goes above and beyond for fans
Every year since 1972, summers for the Philadelphia Phillies’ Dan Baker have been filled with 81 games of baseball as the team’s in-stadium public address announcer. Baker even grew up as a Phillies fan, as in the mid 1950s, his dad started taking him and his brother to see games at Connie Mack Stadium.
Due to this year’s pandemic, traditions that have lasted for decades have surely changed. And while Major League Baseball is set to begin its shortest season ever in less than one month, it will come without fans.
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That still leaves Baker without an audience that has enjoyed his voice for 48 seasons. Just one season remains until his half a century milestone. Despite the uncertainty, Baker is still always here for Phillies fans.
That became evident for diehard Phillies fans Steve and Shannon Gallo — both at their March 2014 wedding reception, and just recently, more than six years later.
Baker announced the Gallo’s wedding party on the same day he flew back home from Clearwater, Florida, and less than one week before he was needed to be the public address announcer at the on-deck exhibition series opposite the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.
After giving a preview of how he would announce second baseman Chase Utley’s plate appearance, Baker followed: “Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we welcome you to the Gallo wedding reception, featuring Steven and Shannon Gallo.”
The Gallos could not be more thrilled that Baker attended their wedding reception, adding: “He was one of the highlights of the day and our guests were thrilled he was there!”
Yet, Steve says he only has one regret from the unforgettable night: “I always regretted not getting him to sign a baseball for the collection.”
Six Phillies seasons came and gone, before Steve recently decided that he would ask Baker for his autograph.
“I emailed him this week to see if I could mail him one to sign,” Steve says.
Baker not only agreed to sign a ball for the Gallos, but he also invited them to his home on Saturday.
“Dan is the nicest guy ever,” says Steve, who shared a photo of him on Baker’s back deck, as well as photos of a ball and photo Baker signed using the hashtag #GalloWedding.
In a November 2015 interview, Baker says he loves his job: “It’s so much fun. When I got this, I knew I loved it. I knew I found a home,”
Baker is currently the longest tenured public address announcer throughout all of Major League Baseball; 2021 will mark his 50th milestone season.
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“Since the retirement of the late, great Bob Sheppard of the New York Yankees following the 2007 season, I have been the senior PA announcer in all of Major League Baseball,” said Baker. “That’s a distinction I have enjoyed.”
For Baker, a guy that will do anything for anyone with generosity and kindness, we can only hope he will be able to be the public address announcer — with fans in attendance — for his special season next year.