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Phillies’ Pennsylvania broadcaster Dan Baker named “Most Courageous” by Philadelphia Sportswriters

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Sitting in a smart suit with a Phillies pin on his jacket pocket while wearing his 2008 World Series ring, Dan Baker — the team’s public address announcer — reminisced about his experiences behind a microphone at sporting events.

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“And in this corner, he weighs 265 pounds…from Abruzzo, Italy, the world heavyweight champion—Bruno Sammartino.” Baker reprized that introduction when he was the backup color announcer for Wrestling with Buddy Wagner on Channel 48.

Baker told this tale along with others — such as his PA handling of the Army-Navy game and his college basketball broadcast — at a news conference Monday at the DoubleTree Hotel in Cherry Hill, where he was honored with the most daring award at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s annual awards dinner.

“A lot of organizations like this have gone out of business,” said Baker, 76, who is known for his perseverance in an ongoing battle with cancer. “Philadelphia sportswriters are still here. I am proud to announce the Phillies for all these years. I am grateful for the opportunity.”

With nearly a half century as a Phillies’ PA man, Baker still gets it, and he’ll hope he continues lending his voice to their games for another 10 years.

He added, “If God blesses me with good health and the Phillies will live me.”

In 2020, Baker was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. He has undergone 24 surgeries and 30 radiotherapy treatments since the tumor was discovered in the right maxillary sinus. During that period, Baker asked surgeons at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, “When will I be able to come back?”

He was absent from the 2020 season for the Phillies but returned in 2021 and was on hand for the World Series last year. Becker is still continuing his rehabilitation and recovery from cancer, which affected his eyesight and speech, but doctors and friends say he’s made miraculous improvements.

Read more: After half a century in the booth, Dan Baker still lends his voice to the Phillies

“Dan continues his rehabilitation, which does not prevent him from fulfilling his obligations professionally, as he has always done,” wrote longtime friend and PSWA member Roger Hendler in a statement. “His determination and enthusiasm are amazing to witness.”

On stage with Baker at Monday’s event, which was also honored with awards, were Phillies manager Rob Thomson and third baseman Alec Bohm. The family and some of the doctors who helped Baker during his treatment were in attendance.

Baker had been with the Phillies since 1972, their second season at Veterans Stadium. He has been the longest-tenured PA in Major League Baseball since Bob Sheppard retired from the New York Yankees in 2009.

He was part of six World Series eight appearances for the Phillies. He considered his tenure with the team a privilege. This year, Baker used one word to sum up his return to Citizens Bank Park: grateful.

“You can feel sorry for yourself in that situation. I just feel so lucky,” Baker said. “I mean, honestly, if it had been like that for me two years ago, I would have said to God, ‘Thank you.'”

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Mount Ephraim, the Audubon High School graduate was 25 when he started as a PA broadcaster. In addition to his work with the Phillies, Baker was the Eagles PA announcer from 1985 to 2014 and radio announcer for Drexel men’s basketball from 1997 to 2012.

As a longtime Phillies fan, Baker said nothing can compare to the feeling he gets when he takes the field.

“You brought me such pleasure,” he said. “I was able to share it with my family. I met my wife with the Phillies. … Both of our sons worked with the Phillies during their college years, so they have been very good to me.”

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