Voice of NIU radio held many jobs, including one as WWF ring announcer

While Bill Baker has spent more than 50 years on the radio calling football and basketball games, he's also held down quite a few other jobs.

Beer truck driver. Ad salesman and general manager of WKKD. Usher for Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears games.

One, however, put him front and center as ring announcer for World Wrestling Federation events at the Rosemont Horizon.

Baker was hired to introduce the likes of Hulk Hogan, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Andre the Giant and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

His most memorable moment came when introducing Hogan for a 2-on-1 match against a pair of foreign wrestlers. Baker can't remember what country they hailed from, only that they were known as "The Bad Guys."

"They got to be a tag team, but Hogan had to be by himself," said Baker, who will call his final NIU game Saturday after 44 years. "They come in first and everybody's booing and throwing crap at them. I'm trying to dodge all this stuff. Then Hogan comes out, there's 18,000 people in the place and they're all going crazy."

It's at this point that one of Hogan's opponents put his back to Baker, leaned around and told him what was about to unfold.

" 'Mr. Announcer,' " he said. " 'You introduce us, bad guys. Then you introduce Hogan, good guy. After you say Hogan, you duck. We throw chairs.'"

Said Baker: "Honest to God. So I can't go down before I say Hogan. It's not going to look good. So I'm trusting these guys."

After Baker screams, "Hogan!" he counts in his head: One-one thousand, two-one thousand.

Then he hits the deck.

"Two things," Baker said. "I felt the whoosh of the chair going over my head. And as I'm crawling to the side, I see Hogan catch the chair, break it over his knee and throw it out of the ring.

"And all hell broke loose."

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.