Versatile Announcer Callahan Enjoying Latest Role in Baseball
Honorary alumnus Dick Callahan '98 can certainly claim that he's had the most varied sports public address announcer career in the Bay Area.
Solidifying that contention is his newest role as public address announcer for the Oakland A's, filling in for veteran Roy Steele, who has been ill since last year.
"This (major league baseball) is definitely new territory for me but I'm enjoying it," Callahan says. "The challenge is not having honed my skills like I did with football and basketball. And there is far less opportunity to ad lib with baseball than with other sports."
For 19 years and 750 games before retiring, Callahan was courtside for the Golden State Warriors. His distinctive "Shooting two-o-o-o" (foul shots) call quickly became a local legend. As PA man for the Cal football team the last two seasons, the Moraga resident and Lafayette insurance man put his own special touch on heralding "First Down Bears."
But Callahan, a Moraga resident and Lafayette insurance man with boundless energy, quickly reiterates that Saint Mary"s is where his one-time hobby developed into an invigorating vocation.
"Saint Mary's College was the catalyst, for sure, and the wonderful relationship continues on several fronts to this day," he says. "In 1975, (then Athletic Director) Don McKillip and (Sports Information Director) Chris McKinnie contacted me about possibly doing football and basketball games since I had some college and semi-pro background in my native Canada.
"I'll never forget the first time climbing up a ladder to the balcony in Madigan Gym to do a basketball game," he adds. "The crowd was right on top of you."
Callahan also cherishes memories of Gael football, including the final game in 1988 season when the team capped an unbeaten season with a thrilling come-from-behind victory.
"I remember it like it was yesterday - that Tim Rosenkranz pass to Jon Braff in the right end zone," he says.
Callahan's love for Saint Mary's goes far beyond sports.
"I love Saint Mary's more than my own collegiate alma mater (Saint Jerome in Kitchener, Ontario)," Callahan admits. "It's just developed over time and I have NO intention of quitting on the Gaels. The (men's) basketball teams under head coach Randy Bennett have maintained more sustained success than any of their predecessors. And more success appears on the horizon this season with so many good young players coming back."
But until the baseball season is over, Callahan is focused on the diamond. Baseball's growing international appeal presents hurdles even for the savvy Callahan.
"So many Latin and Asian players are now in the majors. I spend considerable time reviewing visiting team rosters and practicing pronunciations," he says.
Many of Callahan's words at A's games are pre-recorded. Lineup and player introductions, freshly enunciated at each outing, offer little chance to stir the crowd. Yet Callahan has been able to capitalize on some special occasions, including the Bay Bridge series game in which Barry Bonds tied Babe Ruth's career home run record.
"I really got the chance to be me with that call," Callahan says.
Callahan says there is a difference between being a cheerleader and an initiator. "As much as possible given the sport I am doing, I try to help encourage fans to get into the game."
Callahan works with pros who control all A's scoreboard and marketing activity. He also interacts with Saint Mary's College interns, including senior communication majors Juliette Brickley and Joaquin Jaime.
Callahan has donated his services as an emcee for many important College events and served on the Career Center's advisory board. He and his wife, Patricia, are longtime members of the President's Club of major donors.
Office of College Communications