Don Guckian had no intentions of becoming a public address announcer. But his willingness to help a longtime friend led him to a 20-year stint behind the microphone.
Many of those years Guckian has served as the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training and for its minor-league affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers.
"I've never been trained in it and I'm no Harry Kalas or anything like that," said Guckian, 68. "I'm just a local guy who learned to announce high school basketball and football primarily, and it evolved into the Phillies thing. It wasn't on purpose, believe me."
Longtime Clearwater Central Catholic athletic director and basketball coach Nick Cavallero asked Guckian to announce the school's basketball games in the late 1960s.
In 1985, when the Clearwater Phillies were born, Guckian said he was asked if he wanted to be involved with official scorekeeping and some announcing with the team.
Four years later, Guckian was asked to be the backup announcer. After the 1990 season, Guckian was given the gig full time.
"Don is one of the most dedicated and loyal employees we've ever had," said John Timberlake, the Phillies' director of Florida operations and the Threshers' general manager. "He's a professional and has become a real fixture at the ballpark.
"It's the same voice you've been hearing for 20 years. When people come into the park, they recognize that voice."
It's a family affair, of sorts, at the ballpark. Chris Guckian, 69, his wife of 48 years, works in the gift shop.
For Guckian, who retired from a national security alarm company in 2003, he simply gets to watch baseball.
"In 21 years of watching these games, I've seen an awful lot of guys play baseball," Guckian said. "And that is one of the fun parts, it really is."
Demorris A. Lee can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4174.